House passes high-school sports bill - SaintPetersBlog

House passes high-school sports bill

One of several bills aimed at overhauling the state’s oversight body for high school athletics was passed by the Florida House of Representatives on Monday.

The House passed the measure (HB 31) by state Rep. Ross Spano, a Dover Republican, on a 109-0 vote.

Its main provision is that it would allow private schools to join the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) on a per-sport basis, rather than signing up for a full membership that would require a school to play by the group’s strict rules in all athletics.

In recent years, lawmakers have regularly challenged the organization that oversees 32 male and female high-school sports, including player eligibility in each.

For instance, the bill includes a provision to “provide a process for the resolution of student eligibility disputes which includes the opportunity to use an informal conference procedure.”

Conservative lawmakers targeted the association after constituents complained about their children not being able to play certain sports because of strict transfer rules, especially when youngsters change schools but don’t move to another district.

The bill now moves to the Florida Senate. The 2016 Legislative Session ends Friday.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.
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