- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Senate committee on Friday endorsed a bill that would require Wyoming students to receive basic instruction in CPR before they graduate high school, with one proponent saying that the bill would create “generations of life-savers” if it becomes law.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously supported an amended version of the bill, Senate File 82. It now goes to the Senate floor for debate.

The proposal requires all high school graduates to receive basic instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of automated external defibrillators. Students would not graduate without taking the course.

“I just think it’s a good thing,” bill sponsor Sen. Bill Landen, R-Casper, said. “Somewhere along the way from seventh and 12 grade we’re going to ask our students to be exposed to CPR training and how to use those AEDs. And I think it’s going to save lives, it’s going to save money.”

The bill does not require students to obtain CPR certification, which involves much more detailed training.

“We’re not having them at that skill level, but we’re giving them the skill set, the knowledge and the confidence to take action when there’s a medical emergency,” Kristen Waters, governmental affairs director of the American Heart Association in Wyoming, said. “And if you don’t take action immediately when someone falls, that person probably unfortunately isn’t going to make it.”

Waters said CPR can be taught “fairly easily in one class period.”

With thousands of high school graduates every year, Wyoming would get many more people with basic life-saving skills, she said.

“The American Heart Association’s goal behind this is to create generations of life-savers,” Waters said.

The Senate committee rejected an amendment to remove the mandate for students to have the instruction to receive a high school diploma.

“It’s not an onerous requirement,” committee member Sen. Stephan Pappas, R-Cheyenne, said.

John Lyttle, superintendent of Laramie County School District 1 in Cheyenne, said the amended proposal would not be a burden for school districts.

“I think it’s something that we could fit within our health and physical education curriculum,” Lyttle said.

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