tampabay.com

Rep. renews efforts for drug testing

Proposal would allow random steroid tests.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published February 22, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - The sponsor of a bill that would authorize a random one-year anabolic steroid testing program for Florida high school athletes is taking another shot at getting the measure passed.

The proposal (HB 461) is sponsored by Rep. Marcelo Llorente, a Miami Republican who has twice successfully pushed it through his own chamber.

"We should really do something to ensure that these young men and women know that there are very dangerous health consequences associated with steroids use," Llorente said Wednesday.

The 29-year-old former college infielder believes the attention surrounding the investigations into steroid use in Major League Baseball will benefit his cause.

Under the proposal, the Florida High School Athletic Association would oversee the testing. All of the association's member schools, public and private, would be subject to the law.

The steroid tests would be randomly given to 1 percent of Florida high school athletes who compete in football, baseball and weightlifting, beginning in the 2007-08 school year.

Any athlete who refuses to provide a urine sample would be ineligible to remain on the team. Those who test positive would be suspended from the team, but could be reinstated by passing a followup test at a later date.

Llorente is trying to line up someone in the Senate to help push the measure through that body in the upcoming session that begins March 6.

New Jersey became the first state in the country to start a statewide steroid-testing policy for high school athletes last year.