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New Legislation Introduced to Bolster Safeguards for Youth Amateur Athletes Through SafeSport

In the wake of recent news regarding new allegations and suspensions regarding SafeSport, there will continue to be Congressional attention to try to improve the legislation that pertains to protecting amateur athletes, especially minors. In an effort to keep ASHA members informed, the Association will continue to monitor action in Congress and pass on that information to you.  

We’ve learned of recently introduced legislation in the United States Senate aimed at strengthening the Center for SafeSport. It also provides for additional mandates on National Governing Bodies to protect youth from sexual abuse. 

S.2330 titled “The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019” is a bi-partisan bill filed July 30 by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). Blumenthal and Moran both are members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation where the Legislation has been assigned.  

According to information released by the bill sponsors, the legislation is the result of an 18-month investigation. Details of the bill are as follows: 

-Increases athlete representation on governing boards, committees and panels within NGBs and the USOPC to help identify problematic policies and practices faster, while prioritizing athlete-centric solutions;
-Bolsters resources for the U.S. Center for SafeSport while ensuring its independence from the USOPC and the NGBs;
-Requires relevant SafeSport training, so athletes know how to identify abuse, and so adults know how to prevent it;
-Strengthens and codifies reporting mandates for adults with knowledge of any allegation of child abuse of an amateur athlete;
-Protects individuals who report emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of an athlete from retaliation within the Olympic movement;
-Promotes safety by requiring NGBs to enforce SafeSport sanctions and directing SafeSport to maintain a public list of all barred coaches and individuals;
-Bolsters USOC auditing and reporting requirements, so that Congress can better provide regular oversight; and
-Establishes legislative mechanisms by which Congress can dissolve the Board of the U.S. Olympic Committee and decertify NGBs.

Since it’s introduction, the legislation has gained four sponsors Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV). 
ASHA will contact the offices of Senators Blumenthal and Moran to gain more information on S.2330 and will report back to the membership. 

This legislation comes just weeks after another bill was filed regarding SafeSport. In June, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced HR 3303 creating a commission to study and make recommendations for better protection of athletes. ASHA Executive Director Terri Dolan, Board President David Mount and Board Member Helena Moreno met with Rep. Degette’s staff to weigh in on the legislation. This bill has not been scheduled for committee hearing, but has gained 8 co-sponsors since its filing.
More information on S.2330 and bill text available HERE.

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