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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2015 04:10 PM
From: Representative Jerry Knowles and Rep. James R. Santora, Rep. Ted Harhai
To: All House members
Subject: Childhood Obesity Package
During the 2013-2014 Session, the House passed House Resolution 243 establishing the Advisory Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention through the Joint State Government Commission. The Advisory Committee was comprised of experts from the fields of nutrition, education, physical fitness as well as representatives from the Departments of Agriculture and Health. After many months of study and discussion, the committee released a final report of its findings and recommendations.

As a result of the Advisory Committee’s fine effort, we have prepared a package of three (3) bills. Below is a brief summary of each bill:

Document #1

Introduced as HB1365

Description: Representative Jerry Knowles:

1)         Health and Physical Education - Charter, Cyber and Home Schools
This bill amends the Public School Code to permit charter schools, cyber charter schools and home school programs to offer instruction to students on health safety and physical education in conjunction with a local non-profit organization, including, but not limited to a YMCA. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that all students, including those in charter, cyber and home school programs receive access to high quality health, safety and physical education as can be provided by a local Y or other non-profit organization.

Document #2

Introduced as HB1366

Description: Representative Santora

2)         Childhood Wellness Council
This bill amends the Public School Code to establish a Childhood Wellness Council within the Department of Education.  The purpose of this Council will be:  One, to establish coordinated strategies for addressing childhood obesity and disseminating information on these strategies; and Two, to work as a liaison with local governments to implement the strategies. Many other states have established a similar entity to help lead the effort to prevent childhood obesity.

Document #3

Introduced as HB1367

Description: Representative Harhai

3)         Voluntary Income Tax Refund Designation – State Food Purchase Program 
This bill amends the Tax Reform Code to enable individual Pennsylvania taxpayers to voluntarily designate an amount of their state income tax return to the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP). The SFPP provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low income individuals. The SFPP supplements the work of local food pantries, soup kitchens, food banks and other food and shelter organizations.