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KILLING A GOOD BILL WITH KINDNESS
Five members of a House Judiciary subcommittee last week dealt the U. S. Olympic movement a stunning blow, voting unanimously to strike from HR. 12626 (commonly known as the Olympic Sports Bill) an appropriation for $30 million to institute several important changes in the shape and direction of amateur sports in this country. The money was deleted from the bill—which had already sailed through the Senate (SCORECARD, May 8)—on a motion by Thomas N. Kindness (R., Ohio), who expressed skepticism that this would be a onetime request from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The bill now goes back to the full Judiciary Committee, then to the House floor, and finally to a House-Senate conference committee to iron out differences in the two bills, which at this point are considerable. The fate of the $30 million—$18 million of which was earmarked for the reorganization of the amateur sports bureaucracy, the other $12 million to go to a badly needed sports training program—will be determined when Congress returns from its recess after Labor Day.
The subcommittee chairman, George Danielson (D., Calif.), says, "There is a 50-50 chance some money, like the $18 million part, may be restored by the full committee."
The USOC has steadfastly insisted that the bill represented a request for what it called "seed money," and that the Olympic Committee will never show up on Capitol Hill with its hand out. "I can't understand why the subcommittee can't appreciate that the financing is inseparable from the rest of the bill," says USOC Executive Director F. Don Miller. "The money is absolutely imperative to the successful reorganization of amateur sports in this country."
One purpose of the bill was to put an end to the constant jurisdictional bickering between amateur sanctioning bodies like the AAU and the NCAA, both of which belong to the 43-member USOC. If nothing else, this surprising legislative defeat has drawn those fractious bodies closer together than ever. "We've never fought for anything as hard," says USOC Director of Communications Bob Paul. "Working to get the money reinstated in this bill is the first time we've ever had all our organizations aligned behind a single effort."
AU REVOIR, SAM
Eleven years ago the Federal government became concerned enough about the dwindling alligator population to declare the reptile endangered, thus making all hunting and trapping of alligators illegal. Months ago, however, the Department of the Interior demoted the alligator to the "threatened" list in Florida and certain Other key areas in the South, which means that instead of being relocated in the Everglades and other unpopulated areas, "nuisance alligators" are killed by state-licensed trappers. According to game officials, over one two-month period 580 nuisance alligators were destroyed. Bristled George Campbell, head of the Southwest Florida Regional Alligator Association, "So a law finally works and they decide to take it off the books. That's like doing away with the 55-miles-per-hour law because it's working too well; it's saving people's lives."
The Federal Register of July 25 also reports that the Fish and Wildlife Service has deregulated the Mexican duck, and will provide it with "a more appropriate level of protection" under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. You may not be concerned about the fate of the Mexican duck, but The Washington Post, conscience of a grateful nation, is. In a recent editorial, the Post reported the following: