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Amnorix
11-09-2005, 08:14 AM
Interesting. I see this as more of a sports topic than a political topic, but if a Mod disagrees, I suppose this could be banished to DC.

In any event:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2005-11-08-steroids-bill_x.htm

Congress rounding third on steroid bill compromise

By Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON A bill that would require professional sports leagues to impose lengthy suspensions on athletes using illegal drugs is on the fast track to become law, one of the measure's sponsors said Tuesday.

Sen. Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican whose career as a major league pitcher earned him a place in baseball's Hall of Fame, said he is "positive" the Senate this week will approve his bill, which enjoys strong bipartisan support. He's meeting with House sponsors of similar bills in an effort to get a measure to President Bush quickly.

The legislation covers professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey, but baseball has been the primary focus of congressional pressure. Fueling the outrage: Baltimore Oriole star Rafael Palmeiro's 10-day suspension in August for steroid use after he told Congress under oath he never used steroids.

Two sponsors of House bills cracking down on illegal drug use in sports, Tom Davis, R-Va., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., say they'll work with Bunning. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is urging sponsors of the various bills to reach a compromise so the House can act soon. Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean says there's a "strong possibility" the House will pass a bill before the end of the year.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had no comment, and the baseball players union could not be reached. NBA and NHL spokesmen said they would cooperate with any legislation.

Under Bunning's bill, professional sports leagues would be required to suspend athletes who test positive for any of the substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which regulates drug use for the Olympics. Athletes also would be tested five times a year by an independent agency. Currently, penalties are less stringent. In baseball, the maximum penalty is one year after four positive tests, and basketball bans a player from the sport after a fourth offense.

The legislation would not become effective until one year after being signed by the president. Bush, a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, called on team owners and players to "send the right signal, to get tough and to get rid of steroids now" in his 2004 State of the Union address.

All professional sports are engaged in interstate commerce, which the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate. However, Bunning said he expects the baseball players' union to go to court to challenge lawmakers' authority.

Bunning said Congress is acting because the baseball players' union, which he helped found, failed to reach an agreement with Major League Baseball on tougher drug testing. Baseball union head Donald Fehr told senators a deal would be reached by the World Series. The Series ended Oct. 26.

"It is unfortunate we have come to the point where Congress has to take action, but the leagues and the players have left us no other choice," Bunning said.

He said Congress must act to protect younger athletes who might be influenced by their role models.

jspchief
11-09-2005, 08:20 AM
I'm just glad they fixed all the other problems in the US so they had time to concetrate on trivial issues like this.

penguinz
11-09-2005, 08:30 AM
"It is unfortunate we have come to the point where Congress has to take action, but the leagues and the players have left us no other choice," Bunning said.