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New School P.E. Benchmarks Considered for MN

The Public News Service posted an aritcle this morning on developing grade-specific benchmarks for P.E. classes in Minnesota, check it out below!

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Getting regular exercise is one of the easiest ways to combat childhood obesity, and a bill awaiting a hearing at the state Capitol aims to make sure Minnesota school children are being active.

State Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, said the legislation calls for the updating of statewide standards for physical education for the first time in more than a decade, along with the development of grade-specific benchmarks.

"This will add three new questions to an existing report that school districts are required to submit asking for their information on the quality of and quantity of physical education classes that kids receive in their schools," Dettmer said. - Continue Reading Here

Photo: Jim Larrison/Flickr

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Last Chance! Register for the MHK Lobby Day on March 25th!

The Minnesotan's for Healthy Kids Coalition Lobby day is two weeks away on Wednesday, March 25th at the Minnesota History Center! This event's focus is to advocate for policy that will help combat childhood obesity like fighting for quality physical education in schools, funding for the Statewide Help Improvident Program (SHIP) and funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure.  Register now to join advocates from Minnesota for this all day event to learn about the issues and meet with your lawmakers to ask them for their support. Breakfast and lunch is included. No cost to attend but advanced registration is required.

Don't miss out on this great event and register here now or call Jess at (952) 278-7928.

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Volunteers Testify Around MN at Transportation Hearings

The Minnesota Safe Routes to School Coalition has been busy testifying around the state for active transportation funding!

Jodi Gertken gave a great testimony at the Sen. Transportation & Public Safety Cmte hearing in St. Cloud, Minnesota about why CentraCare Health System supports the Move MN transportation funding proposal and why resources to support safe walking and biking options should be part of the transportation funding solution.

Center for Prevention director Janelle Waldock testified at a Senate Transportation hearing in Woodbury  on the importance of including bike and pedestrian options as part of a comprehensive state plan for all Minnesota’s transportation needs.

Bike/ped advocates Jodi Gertken (Left) and Dr. Dave Sanderson (Right) from Greater MN testified alongside bill author Sen. Pederson (Center) today at the Sen. Transportation & Public Safety Cmte hearing on SF1376 which would establish a statewide active transportation program to support bicycle, pedestrian and other nonmotorized transportation activities in MN.


Thanks to Rep. Nornes for meeting with SRTS and bike/ped advocates in Fergus Falls to hear why walking and bicycling is a critical component to the transportation funding discussion at the Capitol.

Pictured: Rachel Callanan, Patrick Hollister, Wayne Hurley, Rep. Nornes, Dorian Grilley and Dave Sanderson.







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An Update from the Capitol: Different approaches to transportation funding in 2015

The Republican House Majority bill (HF 4 – Rep. Kelly, Red Wing) calls for $750 million over the next four years, through redirecting existing dollars, tapping the state’s budget surplus to the tune of $200 million, and through greater "efficiencies" at MnDOT. Their bill is exclusively dedicated to funding roads and bridges with zero money for transit or pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. House GOP leadership have stated that this bill is a starting point.

Taking a decidedly more long-term and comprehensive approach, the DFL Senate Majority’s bill (SF 87 – Sen. Dibble, Minneapolis) calls for a $800 million to $1.1 billion annual investment in a multi-modal transportation system that includes dedicated money for roads, bridges, transit, and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The money would be generated from a combination of new revenue (wholesale gas tax, ¾ of cent Metro sales tax increase, etc.) and redirecting federal dollars. The DFL Senate bill would provide approximately $50 million per year for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in Minnesota, $16 million of which is dedicated for Greater Minnesota. Safe routes to school projects are specifically named as an eligible use for these new funds.

Governor Dayton’s transportation budget (HF 847) proposes roughly $11 billion over the next 10 years in multi-modal investments using similar funding sources as the DFL Senate bill (wholesale gas tax, ½ cent Metro sales tax increase, etc.). However, Dayton’s proposed investment in walking and biking is just $8 million per year over the next ten years, far below the $50 million per year walking and biking advocates have called for to meet the needs across Minnesota. Of the $7.5 million per year to support walking and bicycling, Dayton would make roughly $3 million per year available to the Safe Routes to School program. However, those dollars would come from the General Fund, which is a less secure funding source than dedicated transportation dollars.

How can you help support walking and biking?

Active and healthy living advocates have a unique role to play by bringing a new voice to transportation funding discussions. Get involved and stay informed: Make sure you "like" the MN Safe Routes to School Coalition and Move MN Facebook pages.

Two new resources can help us communicate the need for pedestrian and bicycle funding to the public and lawmakers. Use them in conversations with friends, colleagues and legislators to elevate the importance of investing in a transportation system in Minnesota that supports walking and bicycling.

1. The statewide active transportation poll shows a significant majority (65%) of Minnesotans favor including additional funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in any transportation funding proposal state lawmakers consider.

2. The interactive online map shows funded and unfunded pedestrian and bicycle projects in Minnesota, including Safe Routes to School projects. Check out what is happening in your community.

The Bottom Line: Policymakers need to hear from YOU!

If Minnesota is to achieve significant, dedicated funding for improving the safety and convenience of walking and bicycling for all users, regardless of age or zip code, YOU need to take action and speak out! Watch for Action Alerts this legislative session to ensure walking and biking are a central part of the transportation discussion. And make sure to join us at the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Day at the Capitol on March 25, 2015 so you can advocate for walking and biking infrastructure. Register here now!

Thanks for your ongoing support!

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Study Shows More Deaths Linked to Smoking

 Check out this article from the Public News Source posted today! Smoking is deadlier than we have thought! (Picture - Franco/Flickr)

ST. PAUL, Minn. - While many of the dangers of smoking have been well known for some time, new research shows that the consequences may be larger and deadlier than previously thought.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 21 different causes of death are attributed to smoking, with some 480,000 deaths in the United States each year. A study co-authored by epidemiologist Brian Carter with the American Cancer Society examined the corollary health impacts even further.

"We identified at least six new causes of death that we think are probably associated with smoking," Carter said, "and if you look at these as an aggregate, that would add about 60,000 deaths per year to that 480,000 number." Continue reading here

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First MN Legislative Breakfast was a Success!

There are lobby days and events at the Capitol every day, but there has never been a day focused on EMS and Acute Care…until yesterday!! AHA MN partnered with the MN Ambulance Association, the College of Emergency Physicians, the MN Resuscitation Consortium, the MN Trauma System and the MN Office of Rural Health to hold an event that focused on emergency medicine in rural MN and highlighted the developing MN Stroke System of Care. AHA has 3 bills this session that focus on Acute/Emergency Care and EMS:

  • HF513/SF495 Stroke Protocols for EMS
  • HF818/SF790 Funding for the MN Stroke System of Care
  • HF188/SF307 Pre Hospital Data Collection & Reporting

After the morning event, our 57 Volunteers headed to the Capitol and State Office to meet with their legislator! Volunteers had many more contacts with staff and left personal notes where their legislators weren't available. Our one sheet and ambulance filled with lifesaver mints were dropped off at all 201 legislators.

Check out the great media coverage the event received!

Thank you to all of our great volunteers who attended and partners who helped make this Legislative Breakfast a great success!


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Facts Show Health Improvement from 2013 Tobacco Tax Increase

MINNPOST's article from yesterday shows that the 2013 tobacco tax increase is improving health throughout the state of Minnesota! Check out the article below.  (Photo - MINNPOST/Flickr)

It has been a year and a half since Minnesota implemented the 2013 tobacco tax increase of $1.60 per pack of cigarettes. Strong research — including state studies in the areas of health, employment and revenue — shows that the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton made the right decision for both the health of Minnesotans and the state budget by increasing the price of tobacco.

Over the past several decades, Minnesota has aggressively sought to separate the facts from fiction when it comes to tobacco. Today, here’s what is known:

Tobacco is still a problem in Minnesota.
Minnesota is realizing real health benefits from strong tobacco control efforts, including price increases.
The tobacco industry continues to try to disregard the public’s will and promote its profits over Minnesotans’ health. Continue reading here

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EMS Transport Protocols Bill Passes to House Floor!

Justin Bell (AHA), Buck McAlpin (MAA) and Rep. Nick Zerwas were up at the Capitol yesterday when House File 513 passed out of HHS Reform Committee and made its way to the House floor! The bill updates EMS protocols for stroke patients and includes the newly designated stroke hospitals across MN so that when minutes matter, stroke patients can get to appropriate facilities faster. Thank you Rep. Nick Zerwas for authoring this important legislation!


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Last Chance to Register for the MN Legislative Breakfast!

The Minnesota Legislative Breakfast is coming up next Wednesday February 18th at the Kelly Inn!  Register now to join advocates from Minnesota to speak with legislators in a strong, unified voice about the importance of acute care issues when treating heart disease and stroke. During this event you will have the opportunity to learn more about our system of care policy efforts and speak to lawmakers about the importance of supporting a strong statewide system of care to treat stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Breakfast is included. No cost to attend but advanced registration is required.

Don't miss out on this great even and register here now or call Jess at (952) 278-7928.

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