FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tim Briggs
Briggs: Back to school legislation roundup
HARRISBURG, Aug. 25 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today said that as kids start back to school this fall, he is renewing his efforts to enact several bills designed to protect our children.
Briggs said he will continue to push for better concussion management in youth sports with his proposed Safety in Youth Sports Act (H.B. 200/S.B. 200). The bill, which passed the Senate and is scheduled for debate on the House floor this fall, aims to ensure that male and female student athletes who suffer concussions receive proper care and rest before they get back into the game. The bill states that a player who shows symptoms of sustaining a concussion would not be able to return to play until they are cleared by an appropriate medical professional. It also would require students and a parent or guardian to read and sign a concussion awareness sheet so they are better informed about injuries that may be sustained on the field.
"We all know that concussions are nothing to shake off, and we need to make sure we do everything we can to protect our student athletes from serious injury," Briggs said. "I have been working hard on this legislation since my first year in the state House and it has come a long way from where we started. Thanks to bipartisan support, we are now one step closer to passing this bill into law."
Briggs said he also has introduced the proposed Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Act (H.B. 1795), which will require that school districts develop, expand or improve a comprehensive school physical activity program that must include at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity for every child every regular school day.
"To help combat the childhood obesity epidemic our children need to be more physically active – plain and simple," Briggs said. "My legislation is based on proposed regulations drafted by the State Board of Education, which consulted with multiple stakeholders and experts in this field."
According to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let’s Move initiative, the current generation of children spends 7½ hours on-average watching television, playing video games or on the computer – per day. In contrast, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend that children and adolescents get 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
In addition, Briggs has introduced legislation to address the bullying epidemic in our schools (H.B 1805). This bill would expand the current bullying policy to apply to actions such as harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyber-bullying. Furthermore, it would delineate specific actions that must be taken by school entities to ensure the school entity's harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyber-bullying policy offers considerable notice, opportunities to report incidents, remedies for victims and training in harassment and bullying prevention for those responsible for students.
"Every child in Pennsylvania has the right to learn in an environment free from bullying and harassment and where they feel safe," Briggs said. "Bullying causes major stress for its victims and can have far-reaching effects on their emotional health, well-being and educational success. We need to proactively address this issue in Pennsylvania schools before we hear stories like those in the news more frequently."