State Politics

FLORIDA LEGISLATURE: Local organizations already check coaches

MANATEE — Youth sports coaches would have to undergo background checks under a bill unanimously passed this past week by the Florida Senate, but some local coaches said their organizations already do it.

The chamber Friday sent the legislation, Senate Bill 150, to the House, where a similar measure is awaiting a floor vote.

It would require sanctioning authorities to screen coaches through sexual offender and predator websites maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Justice Department.

As an alternative, they could use a commercial consumer reporting agency that does background screenings using those websites.

Anyone listed on the registries would be barred from coaching. The bill includes an appeal process.

Some local coaches said the measure would not affect their organizations because they already routinely do background checks.

“We do background checks on all coaches and all volunteers,” said Mark Richardson, president of Manatee West Little League and president of its Central Division.

“Most Little League organizations I’ve been involved with already do that.”

His view was seconded by Norma L. Lloyd, who has coached Little League teams for decades.

“We already do it,” she said, adding, “My parents are very, very particular, and I am, too.”

“I wouldn’t let a coach on my field if he wasn’t checked.”

Manatee County Director for Parks and Recreation Cindy Turner said, “It would not be a problem — we already do it.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this article.