Sens. Frist, Bingaman and Dodd once again joined together to introduce IMPACT. This version of the bill is scaled down from last year’s. However, there is an increase in the amount appropriated to fund local grants targeted towards increasing physical activity and improving nutrition. In a press release issued the day the bill was introduced, Sen. Bingaman said, “Obesity is our nation’s fastest rising public health problem and it’s increasingly affecting every segment of the American population…we can no longer afford to ignore escalating costs associated with obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, such as physical inactivity and poor dietary habits.”
Transportation, PEP, and UPARR and LWCF at the Forefront
The large transportation reauthorization bill, now entitled the Safe and Flexible Transportation Equity Act of 2003 (SAFETEA) by the administration, is making its way through Congress. For a comprehensive review of the bill and what advocates for bike/ ped accommodations are saying, visit www.transact.org.
Now is the time to contact those Members on the House and Senate Labor/Health/Education subcommittees charged with determining the funding levels for PEP for FY’04. For more information on PEP or how you can get involved and to follow progress on the announcements of the ’03 winners, visit www.pe4life.org
On May 5, the Dept. of Interior (DOI) announced its FY ’03 funding for LWCF. The DOI gives $94 million for the state portion of the program. This number is down from the $140 million allotted in the FY 2002 budget and is significantly less than the Administration’s $160 million written in its 2004 budget. As many already know, UPARR has been zeroed out. Now is the time to advocate for these important pieces of legislation. After all, these programs may be the reason you have been able to enjoy a park in your area. Visit www.ahrinfo.org for more information on how you can get busy advocating for UPARR and LWCF. The website also has a comprehensive overview of how you can secure local grants should the programs be funded in ’04 and highlights parks that have been privy to past awards.
Insurance Legislation Re-introduced
Representatives Karen McCarthy (D-MO) and Jim Ryun (R-KS) found four more supporters in Representatives Payne (D-NJ), Wamp (R-TN), Christensen (D-VI), and Frost (D-TX) to introduce concurrent resolution HConRes34 asking insurance companies to take a proactive role in promoting healthy lifestyles including regular physical activity through discounted insurance premiums for individuals who exercise regularly. The resolution also asks that insurance companies promote frequent screenings for conditions and diseases that, if caught early enough, are easily treatable.