Save the date…
Town halls are an important part of our democracy. They enable elected officials to hear directly from the people they represent. Together with my seatmates, Rep. Timm Ormsby and Sen. Andy Billig, I’ll be holding a town hall meeting on Saturday, March 11th. It will be at the Washington Cracker Factory/Terrain, 304 W. Pacific Avenue in Spokane.
For questions or directions, please call 360-786-7604.
Click here to watch my latest legislative video update, which has more town hall info as well as details about what’s happening in your state legislature.
Standing up for the health of our next generation
We have an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes in our country. In fact, this is the first generation of kids slated to not outlive their parents’ generation. As a father, I refuse to accept that my kids’ generation is doomed to shorter lives and poor health. That’s why I’ve made policies promoting healthy kids and healthy schools one of my top priorities. Two of my bills focusing on these areas passed the House this week:
HB 1551 sets up a grant application process for schools to upgrade their kitchens and cafeterias in order to be able to serve fresher, more nutritious meals. This is an area where we can do so much better. Instead of serving our kids reheated foods every day, schools could connect with local growers to obtain fresh ingredients and make more meals from scratch. Freshly prepared meals are more nutritious, and healthier kids learn better and can perform better in school. There was overwhelming demand for these grants the last time they were offered. At least 17 Spokane-area schools received some grant money for kitchen upgrades. We’re hoping more schools will be able to take advantage of it this time around.
HB 1235 requires schools to collect data about the physical education programs they offer. We know many kids aren’t getting the amount of activity they need to be healthy. But in order to move forward with doing something to fix that, we need to know where things currently stand. How many minutes of P.E. are students getting per week? What kind of activities do schools consider to be P.E.? Are the instructors certified? This information isn’t just important for making better policies, it’s important for parents who want to know what their kids are doing at school. There are many reasons for wanting to improve physical education in our schools. In addition to addressing the obesity epidemic, making sure kids are active has been shown to improve academic performance.
Representative Marcus Riccelli
3rd Legislative District – Spokane