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State Senate OKs bill requiring more P.E. in schools

RICHMOND—Three years ago, bills to require more physical education in public schools were so controversial that the governor vetoed them.

This year, they’re slipping through quietly with hardly a peep.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed Sen. John Miller’s bill on physical education on a 37–2 vote.

Miller’s bill requires schools to provide at least 20 minutes per day, or an average of 100 minutes per week, of physical activity for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The provision for 20 minutes is a compromise; his original bill said 30.

For students in sixth through 12th grades, the bill just suggests a program of physical activity be available to them for an average of 150 minutes per week.

Like lawmakers who sponsored such bills in the past, Miller said the bill is needed because kids are getting fatter.

“We need to get our children up and moving,” said Miller, D–Newport News. “We’re facing an obesity crisis.”

According to a fiscal impact statement on Miller’s bill, it could lead to increased costs for schools if they have to hire additional staff. But no dollar estimate was put on the statement because the bill doesn’t take effect until the 2016–17 school year.

Chelyen Davis: 804/343-2245


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