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Opening Iowa’s Doors to Physical Activity


This week, the Iowa State Legislature passed HF 570, alleviating liability concerns for schools and municipalities which open their facilities for recreational use. Often referred to as “shared use” or “community use” this legislation effectively removes liability when schools and municipalities allow the general community or other organizations to use their playgrounds, gyms and other facilities.

A coalition of local organizations joined forces under the banner Open the Doors to Health: Bridging Solutions to a Healthier Iowa and worked to garner support from across the State to improve access to safe places to play. There were over 25 organizations involved include the American Heart Association, the Iowa Public Health Association, YMCA, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, School Administrators of Iowa, School Board Association, Association for Justice, American Diabetes Association, and the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership.

The bill sponsors were House Judiciary Committee member Ken Rizer (R) and Senate Judiciary Chairperson Steven Sodders (D) and the bill passed unanimously on Monday, March 23, 2015. The new law is on its way to Governor Branstad’s desk and the coalition is excited to see schools offering new opportunities to their community in the near future.

Article authored by the American Heart Association.

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