Virginia Gov. Vetoes School PE Bill

'Unfunded mandate' would have required 150 minutes of PE a week
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2011 9:35 AM CDT
Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell Vetoes School PE Requirement Bill
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, left, accompanied by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., takes part in a news conference in Arlington, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Virginia’s governor has vetoed a bill that would have required 150 minutes of physical activity per week at elementary and middle schools, handing a victory to school officials who complained that the measure would cost millions to staff, lengthen the school day, and take away from arts education. “While I strongly agree that we must encourage exercise and physical activity, I oppose unfunded mandates, whether they come from Washington or Richmond,” said GOP Gov. Robert McDonnell.

“In the fight against childhood obesity”—a cause promoted McDonnell’s wife—“and preventable disease, we all have a role to play. Government cannot just pass legislation and make this problem go away.” Some 31% of Virginians between 10 and 17 years old are overweight or obese, the Washington Post notes. Currently, fewer than 10% of the state's elementary schools offer kids 150 minutes of weekly exercise; the largest school district requires 60 minutes for elementary schoolers. State lawmakers probably won’t overturn the veto, but a sponsor said he’d likely reintroduce the bill next year. (Read more physical education stories.)

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