Celebrating 2018 Policy Advances!

Voices for Healthy Kids

December 20, 2018

As the year comes to an end, let’s take a moment to celebrate exciting policy advances during 2018! Congratulations and thank you for dedicating your time to making each day healthier for all children.

As we head into the new year, join us in making 2019 a #YearofAction!


California Makes Kids’ Meals Healthier

California made history on September 20, 2018, by becoming the first state to ensure that water or milk comes standard with kids’ meals at all restaurants! Governor Brown signed SB 1192, known as the California “Healthy By Default” Kids’ Meal Beverages Bill, to make water or milk the default beverages in kids’ meals in California.


Rhode Island Eliminates Junk Food Marketing in Schools

Rhode Island Governor Raimondo signed into law Senate Bill 2350A and House Bill 7419A; making Rhode Island the third state to prohibit advertising and marketing of unhealthy food and beverages on school property. Foods and beverages marketed in schools must now meet nutritional standards defined by the USDA, Rhode Island Board of Education and local district wellness committees.


Washington Early Care and Education Standards

Washington State is making early childhood education environments healthier through stronger nutrition, physical activity, and screen time standards. The standards eliminate sugary drinks and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, limit screen time for kids over 2 years old, and set a minimum amount of daily physical activity.


Safe Routes to School Progress in Minnesota

Minnesota Governor Dayton signed HF4425, a bonding bill which increases the current $500,000/year funding by $1 million. This funding will go toward Safe Routes to School grants to improve the safety of walking and biking to school. Additionally, Hennepin County, which contains Minneapolis, will invest $6 million to fix problematic intersections throughout the county.


Massachusetts Increases Funding for the Healthy Incentives Program

Massachusetts Governor Baker released his FY19 Capital Investment Plan, which included $1 million for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program. This additional funding will launch the program with a total of $2 million in capital funding. The supplemental budget was also passed, which included $2.15 million for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). The final house and senate budgets included an additional $100,000 for the Food Trust and $4 million for HIP.


Arizona-Grown Fruit and Vegetable Incentives

Arizona Governor Ducey signed a bill that appropriated $400,000 of Arizona’s general funds to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This bill was the first investment of its kind in the state and gave SNAP enrollees incentives to purchase Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.


Physical Education Requirements in Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Haslam signed the Physical Education Act into law, which requires elementary schools to provide students with at least 60 minutes of physical education per week taught by a certified physical education teacher. Previously, Tennessee schools were not required to provide any physical education to students, but this law will positively impact the lives of approximately 400,000 students in the state.


Healthy Kids’ Meals in Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Pugh signed a bill that ensured water, milk and 100 percent fruit juice became the default drink option for kids’ meals at restaurants in the city. Baltimore became the tenth and largest American city to pass such legislation and was the first city on the East Coast.


Improved Streets and Sidewalks in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma City Council adopted a Livable Streets policy to create opportunities for residents to be active and travel safely. The transportation policy included increasing bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks, ultimately leading to safer streets and improved community health.


Healthy Food Financing in El Paso, TX

The County of El Paso, Texas, where one in four children lives in a food-insecure home, took a major step to make healthy, affordable food easier to buy! The county allocated $500,000 for a healthy food financing initiative to bring new supermarkets, grocery stores, and other food retail models to underserved communities. The El Paso County initiative will be the first ever county-level HFFI program in the United States.


Happy Holidays from Voices for Healthy Kids, we look forward to working with you in 2019!