California Legislature Looks To Ban Youth Football

[Damon J. Moritz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

You can always count on California Democrats to focus on the things that are truly impacting their community. Although the San Francisco Board of Supervisors danced in the aisles after passing a call for cease-fire in Gaza, one of the city’s biggest sports legends, Buster Posey, recently held a press conference explaining that the San Francisco Giants are having a hard time signing free agents due to the rampant crime and drugs in the city.

“Something I think is noteworthy, something that unfortunately keeps popping up from players and even the players’ wives is there’s a bit of an uneasiness with the city itself, as far as the state of the city, with crime, with drugs,” Posey acknowledged.

“Whether that’s all completely fair or not, perception is reality. It’s a frustrating cycle, I think, and not just with baseball. Baseball is secondary to life and the important things in life. But as far as a free-agent pursuit goes, I have seen that it does affect things.”

While the Giants may be losing out on making their baseball team better, the California legislature will soon be voting on whether a different sport should be played at all: youth football. 

A proposed bill to ban tackle football for children under 12 passed through a committee of California’s State Assembly on Wednesday, sending the measure to a vote of the full membership and bringing the state a step closer to becoming the first in the United States to enact a minimum age requirement to play the sport, writes The Washington Post.

The Assembly’s Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Tourism voted by a 5-2 margin in favor of advancing Assembly Bill 734 to a floor vote. The committee vote fell along party lines, with its five Democratic members, including Chair Mike A. Gipson, voting in favor and its two Republican members, including vice chair Greg Wallis, voting against.

“Kids only have one brain. They only have one life,” Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D), who sponsored the bill, said during Wednesday’s hearing, highlighting the scientific links between tackle football and the risk of brain injury. “And there is irreversible damage to kids’ brains [through tackle football] that is totally unnecessary. And you can wait [to play].”

The bill is expected to get a floor vote of the full, 80-member Assembly next week, and it would have to clear the 40-member Senate before reaching the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). In 2019, Newsom signed the California Youth Football Act, which mandated a long list of safety measures for youth and high school football in the state, including mandatory safety training for coaches, additional on-site medical personnel and strict limits on the frequency and duration of full-contact practices.

The debate in the legislature is that high school tackle football has dramatically declined in California. “Participation dropped more than 18% from 2015 to 2022, falling from a high of 103,725 players to 84,626 players, according to the California Interscholastic Federation’s participation survey. Participation then increased by 5% in 2023, up to 89,178 players.

But Ashley Bertram, a mother of three boys, ages 14, 12 and 7, said her boys have played both sports and that in her experience children get hurt more while playing flag football because the players don’t wear protective gear.

“Flag football is still a contact sport,” Bertram told The Associated Press. “If you think that just because a 7-year-old boy is running up to take a flag, that they’re not ramming into each other to do that, you’re out of your mind! We’re talking about boys!”

As the state legislature prepared to debate whether or not parents should let their kids play football, the one thing liberals in charge of the once Golden State have shown an inability to budget.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, fresh off throwing in the towel against Ron DeSantis during a debate, announced that he’d be declaring a budget emergency in order to make up a nearly $40 billion shortfall that has stemmed from an obsession of liberal programs

The Los Angeles Times reported that Newsom has asked to “dip into the state’s rainy-day reserves, and signaled his desire to potentially delay a minimum wage increase for healthcare workers as part of his plan to offset an expected $37.9-billion deficit.

A confluence of weaker-than-expected state revenues, delayed tax deadlines and overspending based on inaccurate budget projections created the budget shortfall. Newsom’s new deficit estimate is more than double the shortfall he and lawmakers anticipated last June, a tacit admission of how badly the state underestimated the size and scope of the budget hole, and marks substantial disagreement within California government about the depth of the financial problem.

Newsom described his plan as an example of resilience as he outlined the $291.5-billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2024-25 during a presentation Wednesday in Sacramento. His proposal to offset the shortfall includes declaring a budget emergency in order to dip into reserves; cutting $8.5 billion in spending from programs that support climate change efforts, housing and other services; and reconsidering the healthcare wage increase.”

In 2022, Newsom boasted that California had a budget surplus of $97.5 billion, saying that “no other state in American history has ever experienced a surplus as large as this.”

California is running a deficit despite being one of the highest-taxed states in the nation. 

[Read More: NYC Closes School, Turns It Into Shelter For Migrants]

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