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S. 534: Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017
On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended in the House

This was a vote to pass S. 534 in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an authorization bill, which directs how federal funds should or should not be used. (It does not set overall spending limits, however, which are the subject of appropriations bills.) Authorizations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year) but are often renewed in subsequent law. This vote was taken under a House procedure called “suspension of the rules” which is typically used to pass non-controversial bills. Votes under suspension require a 2/3rds majority. A failed vote under suspension can be taken again.

S. 534 extends the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to national governing bodies, like USA gymnastics, and affiliated amateur sports organizations, to ensure that reports are immediately made to local or federal law enforcement authorities. The bill also allows civil suits by minors against sex abuse perpetrators to be brought by clarifying that once a victim has established a harm occurred, the court will presume $150,000 in monetary damages. The bill also extends the civil statues of limitations for these cases. Additionally, the bill adds a new entity to the charter for the United States Olympic Committee. The entity, the Center for SafeSport, will be responsible for responding to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements and developing and implementing best policies and practices for preventing sexual and physical abuse of amateur athletes.

According to reports, over the past 20 years, at least 368 victims, many of whom were young athletes, were subjected to sexual abuse by coaches, doctors or other adults affiliated with USA Gymnastics. Although USA Gymnastics received reports of abuse, victims claimed that USA Gymnastics allowed the abuse allegations, including complaints made against coaches who trained and abused young athletes in multiple states, to remain dormant. On January 24, 2018, Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting numerous amateur gymnasts, including gymnasts training at the renowned Karolyi Ranch, for over 15 years. His accusers number over 160. S. 534 requires national governing bodies, like USA gymnastics, to report to law enforcement agencies on such criminal activity.

A similar bill, H.R. 1973, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 415-3 on May 25, 2017.

Source: Republican Policy Committee

Totals

All Votes R D
Yea 94%
 
 
406
225
 
181
 
Nay 1%
 
 
3
3
 
0
 
Not Voting 5%
 
 
21
9
 
12
 

Passed. 2/3 Required. Jan 29, 2018 at 6:57 p.m. ET. Source: house.gov.

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