Senate panel backs healthy communities bill

CHARLESTON (AP) — The Senate Select Committee on Children and Poverty is backing a bill to streamline ways community groups can use public facilities for programs that promote healthy lifestyles.

The Healthy Children and Healthy Communities Act requires the Bureau for Public Health and the Division of Highways to collaborate with state and local agencies and submit a report to the Joint Committee on how public facilities may be used by communities.

The act approved in the committee on Wednesday will address issues like insurance liability and how to cover staffing costs if facilities remain open longer hours.

The act will open the door for local and state agencies to collaborate on such things as bike trails and exercise classes.

Senate Bill 628 has been passed to the Health Committee for approval.

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