ARKANSAS, USA — Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a new bill into law that provides kids in Arkansas access to proper, clean hydration during school hours.
Act 775 requires all new schools to have water bottle filling stations and for the stations to be installed in ongoing school additions and future renovations to existing schools.
The new law is the result of ongoing advocacy efforts, led by the American Heart Association (AHA), Healthy Active Arkansas, the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to provide safe, clean drinking water for students while in school.
The AHA is committed to removing barriers so people everywhere can enjoy a full, healthy life and says Arkansas kids are no exception.
“We know drinking enough water can improve a child’s performance in school, making it easier for them to learn. Substituting water for sugary drinks can also help keep our kids at a healthy weight," said Government relations for the AHA in Arkansas Dave Oberembt.
“We are thankful that the American Heart Association brought this to our attention,” said state Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh of Van Buren. “This law promotes healthy living by requiring modern and hygienic water dispensing systems in public schools and ensures that all children across Arkansas have access to the benefits of proper hydration.”
The filling stations allow students to enjoy water throughout the day as opposed to a quick drink in a long line of students and are preferred over water fountains, which are considered one the ‘germiest’ place in any school.
“This bill is about taking care of our students and giving them the best chance at success,” said state Sen. Jane English of North Little Rock. “The passage of this legislation shows our support for students by recognizing the importance of adequate water intake and the positive impact it has on children’s cognitive performance, visual attention and fine motor skills.”
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2021.