Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, felt the concussion-prevention legislation brought before the House by Rep. Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston, and Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, was not fully vetted through the legislative process while being developed. Crane introduced an amendment Tuesday, during the House’s bill amendment period, which strips the bill of any regulatory powers in dealing with concussions.
House members sided with Crane and defeated the measure proposed by Chavez and Smith. The House will vote on the stripped-down version of the legislation later this week.
The original bill featured several components, which sponsors believed would aid in preventing concussions for young athletes participating in state-funded athletic programs. One provision of the original bill required parents to sign a concussion information sheet prior to their child participating in the sport. In conjunction with the concussion information sheet, the Idaho State Board of Education would have collaborated with the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) to develop informational programs for parents and coaches to warn about the dangers of concussions. Another provision required coaches to immediately remove players from games who coaches suspected of suffering symptoms of concussions. If an athlete was removed by a coach, the original bill stated that the athlete would have needed clearance from a medical professional before participating in the sporting event again.
Chavez and Smith offered an amendment to name the bill “Court’s Law,” after a young man from eastern Idaho who was left with severe mental disabilities after suffering a concussion on the football field. The amendment also removed the information sheet requirement because Chavez told lawmakers, in the committee hearing on the bill, that the IHSAA already has a document that serves that purpose. Additionally, the amendment would have also allowed the board to make rules determining when a student could reenter games or practices.
Several lawmakers opposed the first amendment, but for different reasons. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, said he was opposed to it because naming legislation doesn’t fit the decorum of the House, which stopped the practice in 1999.
Crane took issue with language in the bill, and worked to defeat the amendment proposed by Chavez and Smith. Crane told lawmakers that he felt the overall bill is too regulatory in nature and that he feels the issue hasn’t been fully researched. Crane then pitched his amendment, which would remove all regulatory requirements in the bill. Under the Crane amendment, only the education aspect of the original bill would remain. Crane said he believes the issue is a serious one, but the legislation needs more work.