BILL SUMMARY for SB09-046
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
04:01 PM -- Senate Bill 09-046
Senator Bacon announced that the committee would take testimony on Senate Bill 09-046, but the bill would be laid over until next Wednesday, February 4, for action. Senator Bacon expressed concern about the specificity in the bill.
Senator Sandoval, sponsor of Senate Bill 09-046, presented the bill. The bill requires school districts and the State Charter School Institute to adopt policies regulating the sale of snack foods. The bill lists the types of foods that are allowed under the policy.
Senator Sandoval responded to committee questions.
The following persons testified:
04:08 PM -- Erin Bertoli, representing the American Heart Association, testified in support of the bill. She provided letters in support of the bill from:
- Dr. Ken Ladouceur, Superintendent of the Gilpin County School District (Attachment H);
- Dr. Nancy Krebs, head of the Nutrition Section in the Pediatrics Department at the University of Colorado - Denver (Attachment I);
- Rick Hughes of the Colorado School Nutrition Association (Attachment J); and
- Marcia Fulton, Executive Director of the Odyssey School (Attachment K).
Ms. Bertoli said the bill is about the health of children. She said Colorado students eat one, or sometime two meals at school, and they should have healthy options. She talked about efforts in other states to make healthy snacks available to students. Ms. Bertoli told the committee about organizations that support the bill.
She responded to questions from the committee.
04:14 PM -- Leah Wyckoff, representing the Colorado Association of School Nurses, testified in support of the bill. She talked about the impact of obesity on learning. She talked about what schools teach kids about nutrition and said that teaching is not backed up by what students find in school vending machines.
04:16 PM -- Dr. Matt Haevner, of the Colorado Children's Hospital, testified in support of the bill. He described his background, saying he works with overweight children. He talked about the financial impact of the bill to districts, and asked committee members to weigh that cost against the cost of treating obesity-related illness. He said the bill is based on sound science, will have an impact, and will give families help they want. He said the bill would help children make healthy choices and said 29 other states have adopted similar legislation. Dr. Haevner said he gets frequent questions about what constitutes a healthy snack.
Dr. Haevner responded to committee questions.
04:22 PM -- Ken Ladouceur, Superintendent of the Gilpin County School District, testified in support of the bill. He read his letter (Attachment H) into the record.
Dr. Ladouceur responded to questions from the committee about his school district's healthy snack policy and its implementation. Senator Spence commented that all districts should adopt such a policy, and said the way Dr. Ladouceur's district did it was just right.
04:28 PM -- Tara Trujillo, representing the Colorado Children's Campaign, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Trujillo said both state and federal law already encourage school districts to set nutritional standards outside the meal program, but without state requirements, most school districts do not. She talked about revenue impacts of similar policies in other school districts. She talked about limits to local control in Colorado, saying the state constitution provides local control over instruction, and nutrition policies do not fit in that category. She said the state has a legitimate role and responsibility to provide a healthy school environment.
04:31 PM -- Leo Lesh, representing the Colorado School Nutrition Association, testified in support of the bill. He said everything in the school meal program is highly regulated, but snacks are not regulated at all. He said districts should model good nutrition choices. He talked about a national poll, which shows that 95 percent of parents support a healthy food school policy. Students will buy and consume healthy foods and beverages, he said, and schools will make money selling them. He talked about the number of calories consumed by students in schools, and the types of foods kids have to choose from today. He said the bill is not an unfunded mandate.
Mr. Lesh responded to questions from the committee.
04:39 PM -- Rainey Wikstrom, the parent of children in the Denver Public Schools, testified in support of the bill. She described her work at a school in DPS. She said teachers support healthy foods in schools and the enrollment in the school has gone up. Ms. Wikstrom responded to committee questions.
04:42 PM -- Phyllis Albritton, the parent of children in Jefferson County Public Schools, testified in support of the bill. She said the bill helps Colorado maintain its image as a healthy state. She said in some districts, revenues have increased under healthy snack programs. She talked about a survey of Colorado parents showing parents support healthier options for children. She said it is important to support parents and their choices at home.
Senator Bacon said he agrees with the witnesses, but is concerned with the specificity of the bill. Ms. Albritton responded to Senator Bacon's comments, saying there is flexibility in choosing foods under the standards.
04:48 PM -- Shepard Nevel, representing the Colorado Health Foundation, testified in support of the bill. He talked about a survey that showed support for improving nutritional standards and implementing physical education requirements in Colorado schools. He provided a handout summarizing the findings (Attachment L). He said that if it is the will of the committee to modify the approach to make it akin to the healthy beverages bill passed last year, he would be happy to work with committee members on that. Senator Bacon expressed his desire to work with Mr. Nevel to achieve the goals of the bill.
Mr. Nevel responded to committee questions and comments. Ms. Bertoli came back to the table to respond to a committee question, saying the guidelines in the bill are more strict than USDA guidelines around school meals.
04:56 PM -- Jacqui Shumway, representing Park Hill School and the National Association of Health and Fitness, testified in support of the bill. She talked about turn over on school boards and among school district superintendents, and said the specificity in the state law is necessary. She talked about the positive response from people who care about the issue.
05:01 PM -- Megan O'Connor, parent of children in the Denver Public Schools, volunteer wellness coordinator for the Denver Public Schools, and marketing director for Wholefoods Market, testified in support of the bill. She said all school districts have the opportunity to put these kinds of programs in place, but do not do so. She talked about a Wholefoods Market pilot program, and said there are plenty of healthy snack items available that kids like to eat.
05:04 PM -- Tom Turrell, Superintendent of the Byers School District and representing the Rural Caucus Steering Committee, testified in opposition to the bill. He said the bill infringes on local control. He said school districts do not take student health lightly, and local school boards are in the best position to address such issues. Mr. Turrell described that snacks that are available at his school. He talked about loss of revenue due to the beverages bill passed last year, and talked about programs those revenues would have funded.
05:07 PM -- Stephen Bohrer, Superintendent of Holyoke School District and representing the Rural Schools Caucus, testified in opposition to the bill. He provided a handout (Attachment M), containing a letter to committee members. He said the bill is intrusive on a local control level and is duplicative of federal regulations. Dr. Bohrer talked about Department of Agriculture mandated wellness policies, and said parents are encouraged to provide healthy snacks or non-food items for special occasions at school. He talked about wellness programs provided by his schools. Dr. Bohrer talked about past state mandates on schools districts.
05:15 PM -- David Van Sant, Superintendent of the Strausberg School District and representing the Rural Schools Caucus, testified in opposition to the bill. He said he knows healthy eating is important, but said the bill is the wrong approach. Mr. Van Sant talked about his district's decision to eliminate soda machines and said there are no vending machines in his schools. He said lack of physical education is a problem in his area of the state. He talked about changes made to meals at his schools and said just passing a bill does not change people's heads and hearts. He said local control is the constitution and the law.
Mr. Van Sant responded to questions from the committee.
05:21 PM -- Julie George, representing the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), testified in opposition to the bill. Provided a handout (Attachment N), which is a sample school wellness policy. Ms. George talked about the importance of making wellness policies at the local level. She said the work is already being done at the local level and that local boards work with their communities to make policies that best meet the needs of their communities. Ms. George responded to committee questions.
05:25 PM -- Bruce Caughey, representing the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), testified in opposition to the bill. He said CASE is working on the issue in many different ways. Mr. Caughey said CASE is concerned about negative impacts on school districts in its specificity and stated that the bill would be an administrative and financial burden to districts.
05:28 PM -- Scott Groginsky, President of the Gilpin School Board, testified to provide clarification about Gilpin School District's wellness policy.
05:29 PM -- Vicki Newell, representing the Colorado PTA and herself as a parent, testified in support of the bill.
Sen. Bacon took the bill off the table, and said it would be heard at the committee's next meeting, Wednesday, February 4.
The committee adjourned.