CHICAGO – August 8, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today joined thousands of Illinois students and families at the 80th annual Bud Billiken Parade. Before the parade, Governor Quinn signed several bills into law that will encourage healthy eating habits in our schools and improve public health in Illinois.
“This is a day of celebration on behalf of a great cause,” said Governor Quinn. “It’s also the ideal time to sign bills into law that encourage celebrating life every day through healthy living and eating habits.”
The Farm Fresh Schools Program, created by House Bill 78, will help local and regional farms provide schools with fruits and vegetables for meals, vending machines, salad bars and snacks. Sponsored by Rep. Sandy Cole (R-Grayslake) and Sen. David Koehler (D-Pekin), this program will help reduce obesity and improve nutrition, while supporting local farms.
Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 1957, which will increase participation in the state’s School Breakfast Program by providing more opportunities for students to eat breakfast at school. This measure was sponsored by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Roger Eddy (R-Hutsonville).
House Bill 3767, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview) and Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), creates the Obesity Prevention Initiative. Through this new initiative, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will hold three public hearings to help come up with a plan for addressing obesity in Illinois. IDPH will then present a report on its findings to the General Assembly and the State Board of Health.
The Bud Billiken Parade is the oldest African-American celebration of its kind and one of the largest in the United States. The historic parade kicks off the new school year for the Chicago area’s children.