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SGMA Applauds Goals of National Youth Sports Week

Date: 7/29/11

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 29, 2011 – This week in Washington, D.C., there has been at least one other item on the minds of Congress – the legislative agenda announced during National Youth Sports Week.  On Wednesday, July 27, a number of sports and fitness leaders in the United States – including SGMA President Tom Cove and SGMA’s Vice President of Government Relations Bill Sells – attended a Capitol Hill news conference where the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports revealed its Youth Sports Legislative Agenda for the 112th Congress.  The founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports is U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre (D-NC).

“All across our country, youth sports are shaping both the physical and character development of our children,” said McIntyre.  “We must do our part to strengthen youth sports and ensure that our nation’s youth have every opportunity to learn the valuable lessons that youth sports offer. This agenda represents a renewed commitment to our youth and their futures.”

“On behalf of SGMA and our member companies, we applaud Rep. McIntyre for his unwavering commitment to improving the environment for youth sports in this country,” said Cove.  “Participating in sports programs as a youngster emphasizes and reinforces the importance of teamwork, accountability, integrity, personal fitness, sportsmanship, fair play, and leadership – qualities that are important throughout life.  Those who do participate in youth sports tend to be healthier, have lower health care costs, have higher attendance in school, and produce better grades.”

According to Sells, this has been a significant week for physical activity based legislation on Capitol Hill.  On Tuesday, July 26, Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) re-introduced the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) of 2011 (H.R. 2649).  The PHIT Act would change current federal tax law to allow for the deduction or use of pre-tax dollars to cover expenses related to sports, fitness and other physical activities. Americans could invest up to $2,000 annually to pay for physical activities by using money in existing pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) and/or medical reimbursement arrangements.  The PHIT Bill has strong bipartisan support. 

The Youth Sports Legislative Agenda has been entitled “F.A.N.S. for Youth Sports.” The proposed legislation addresses the four main issues that are the cornerstone for successful youth sports programs: Fitness, Access, Nutrition and Safety (F.A.N.S.). The agenda is a compilation of legislation that complements the mission of the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports. Each of these legislative measures supports one of the four components of F.A.N.S.  Together, these proposals will provide an environment that helps youth sports activities thrive.

Listed below are the specifics of the legislative agenda for the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports:

Fitness:
Fitness Integrated with Teaching (FIT) Kids Act (H.R. 1057 and S. 576)….introduced March 15, 2011
Sponsors:  Representative Ron Kind (R-WI) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to require state and local educational agencies to report annually on school health and physical education programs.

Physical Education to Create A Healthier Nation Act (H.R. 422)…introduced January 25, 2011
Sponsor:  Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA)
Amends ESEA to ensure that schools provide the following:  (1)150 minutes of physical education per week for elementary schools; (2) 225 minutes of physical education per week for middle and secondary schools; and (30 disabled students with physical education.

Access:
GAO Study on Youth Sports
Sponsors:  Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
To investigate the current state of youth sports, specifically opportunities available to youth, including those in disadvantaged populations; how sports aid in the development of youth; and the role of the federal government in supporting youth sports programs.

High School Sports Accountability Act (H.R. 458)…introduced January 26, 2011
Sponsor:  Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Require high schools to report basic data on the number of male and female students to their athletic programs and the expenditures made on each sports team.  Public access to this information would permit schools and communities better insight into female athletic participation and subsequently improve females’ opportunities.

Promoting Health as Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life Act (S. 392)…introduced February 17, 2011
Sponsor:  Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
Establishes an Office of Safe and Healthy Students to assume the responsibilities of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and expand upon those responsibilities to include broader health and physical education issues.

Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (H.R. 709)…introduced February 15, 2011
Sponsor:  Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Provides federal grant funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development to revitalize urban areas through local park and recreation projects and programs.

Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP)
The request for Fiscal Year 2012 is to maintain funding at $79 million for PEP which provides school-based physical education, an essential element for healthy growth and development in our children.

Nutrition:
Healthy Children Through Nutrition Education Act (H.R. 576)…introduced February 9, 2011
Sponsor:  Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA)
Amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require local educational agencies participating in the school lunch or breakfast programs to include in their school wellness policies the requirement that each student receive 50 hours of nutrition education each school year.

Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) America Act of 2011 (S. 176)…introduced January 25, 2011
Sponsor:  Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Aims to improve the health of Americans and reduce health care costs by reorienting the nation’s health care system toward prevention, wellness, and health promotion.  Title 1 focuses on “healthier kids and schools.”

Safety:
Protecting Student Athletes from Concussion Act of 2011 (H.R. 469)…introduced January 26, 2011
Sponsor:  Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY)
Requires state educational agencies, in order to be eligible to receive funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in Fiscal Year 2013 or subsequent fiscal years, to issue regulations establishing minimum requirements for the prevention and treatment of concussions as laid out in the bill.

Child Protection Improvement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1360 and S. 645)…introduced April 4, 2011
Sponsors:  Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Adds a new section to the 1993 National Child Protection Act:  Program for National Criminal History Checks for Child-Serving Organizations.

Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act (S. 800)…introduced April 12, 2011
Sponsor:  Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Amends the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act to reauthorize and improve the safe routes to school program.

Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students Act of 2011 (S. 919)…introduced May 9, 2011
Sponsor:  Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Authorizes state grant programs to ensure successful, safe, and healthy students in order to foster positive learning environments and improve academic achievement.

Congressman McIntyre founded the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports in 2006 to support legislative measures that increase the effectiveness of these benefits, and to improve the state of youth sports in this country for the nearly 50 million American children who participate in them.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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