Public school students would be required to have a wellness exam before entering kindergarten and sixth grade, if the Louisiana Senate agrees to a proposal that has won support from a divided state House.

The measure by Rep. Walt Leger III, a New Orleans Democrat, would allow parents to opt out of the requirement in writing.

Leger says the bill is an effort to improve children’s health, to catch health problems early.

Rep. Beryl Amedee, a Republican from Gray, who voted against the measure, says parents are in the best position to decide if a child needs a health exam and the state shouldn’t require it.

The House sent Leger’s HB1144 to the Senate with a 59-37 vote Monday.