High school sports on the agenda with lawmakers…..

It’s not just lawmakers here in Washington’s legislature that are mad at their state’s high school sports governing body. Another state’s legislators are taking on high school sports.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia lawmakers are tackling a bill in their state’s House which would create a state-led committee to oversee the decisions of the Georgia High School Association, which runs high school sports in that state, and whose executive director, Ralph Swearngin, is a pretty well-known name in national high school sports circles. The bill, House Bill 809, is sponsored by a Republican member of that chamber who represents the central Georgia city of Macon, and has five co-sponsors.

The bill, according to the story from the AJC, was filed in response to a GHSA decision to have two sets of state playoffs for smaller schools, one for public schools, the other for private schools. Public schools and private schools have clashed for many years in a number of states back East, largely over public school concerns about private school recruiting of high school athletes.

This bill is not the first time that the GHSA has come under the cross-hairs of lawmakers, according to the newspaper; state legislators in Georgia have dealt with issues related to high school sports at least twice over the past several years, and had a committee formed similar to the one now being proposed from 2008-10.

Read and discuss.

As for here in Washington state, yesterday, a hearing was held in Olympia on Senate Bill 6383, the bill we told you about earlier this week that would address issues regarding the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s (WIAA)  enforcement practices when high schools break state high school sports rules as a result of school administrative errors.

We listened to the hearing, which was part of a larger public meeting involving several other bills being heard before the Senate committee which was assigned the legislation, and from our perspective, it looks like this bill may have a good chance of passage into law. Both Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and WIAA chief Mike Colbrese testified, and from listening to their testimony, it appears both are on the same page on this. There has been a substitute bill introduced which makes a couple of technical changes to the original bill. Sen. Benton is the sponsor of the legislation.

There was no vote taken on the bill in the committee yesterday; that should happen probably next week. If it passes, it would move to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass based on the large number of Senators who have signed on to the bill. Those co-sponsors include both Senators representing the Valley, Andy Hill (R-45th, Carnation/Duvall) and Cheryl Pflug (R-5th, North Bend/Snoqualmie/Fall City). If you want to offer your thoughts on this issue, you can call the Legislative Hotline at (800) 562-6000 or if you want contact info to contact either lawmaker directly or info on the bill itself, go to www.leg.wa.gov.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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