The New Jersey state Assembly approved a bill expanding random testing of high school athletes for performance enhancing drugs on Monday, according to a report from The Record.
The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) currently only randomly tests athletes competing in championship tournaments, usually in basketball, football and wrestling. The Department of Education will appropriate $45,000 to the NJSIAA for the additional testing, expanding to a year-round program.
The bill was unanimously agreed upon by the Assembly’s Education Committee, with one abstention from an assemblyman who wants stricter testing for student-athletes across the board during their annual physical exams.
“I just think there should be no exceptions,” Assemblyman Robert Auth said after the hearing. “Why let anyone slip through the cracks?”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has twice vetoed similar legislation and also conditionally vetoed a version last summer because of the timing regarding appropriations outside the budget cycle.
According to The Record, about $100,000 is spent on randomly testing 200 selected athletes each year, with the funding split between the NJSIAA and a federal grant. Since the testing began 10 years ago, only three students have tested positive for using banned substances.
Outside of testing, the measure will require coaches and schools to display steroid information posters in the schools while also incorporating anti-PED use into their athletic training programs.
The potential expansion in New Jersey comes months after lawmakers in Texas halted the steroid testing for high school athletes in their state. The first 30,000 tests produced just 11 positive results of steroid use, according to reports. Lawmakers scaled down the program since before pulling all funds. By 2013, its budget had been cut from $3 million per year to $500,000.
Illinois and New Jersey are the only states with steroid testing programs.