AUGUSTA – Thursday’s public hearing on a comprehensive nutrition and exercise bill has been canceled at the request of one of its sponsors. It has not been rescheduled yet.

The bill, based on recent recommendations by the Legislature’s Commission to Study Public Health, would make more than a dozen changes to the way schools deal with food and nutrition. Some changes would be modest, such as requiring at least 20 minutes for lunch in schools every day. Others would be more sweeping, such as prohibiting teachers from using food as incentives and mandating at least 2½ hours of exercise for students every week.

The bill would also ban the sale of certain foods on school grounds, require schools to track the body mass of students and require schools to post nutritional information about their food. It would also seek to determine whether Maine could legally restrict junk food advertisements geared to children.

The proposal is sponsored by Sen. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, and co-sponsored by Rep. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston. It was scheduled for a public hearing before the Legislature’s Education Committee on Thursday, but Martin asked that the hearing be postponed, according to legislative officials.

Martin could not be reached for comment.

The hearing is likely to be rescheduled in April, according to the legislative officials.


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