By Sara Beth Williams–
A Citrus Heights City Council agenda item to consider opposing a bill that would ban tackle football for youths under age 12 was removed from the agenda following word that the bill will not move forward this year.
In March, Citrus Heights Vice Mayor Bret Daniels initially requested support for a future agenda item that would explore opposing Assembly Bill 734, which was then placed on the agenda for April 13. However, the topic was removed from the agenda on the night of the council meeting — with Daniels later telling The Sentinel the item was removed after word was received that the bill would not be moving forward “at least this year.”
AB 734, authored by California State Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would prohibit youth sports organizations from allowing players younger than 12 to engage in tackle football. The proposed ban, and similar assembly bills, have received support and opposition both locally and nationally.
McCarty’s office said in a Feb. 17 news release that legislation is needed to “protect kids and nurture their brain development, and not put them in a situation that’s proven to cause irreparable harm,” advocating instead that flag football be used. The release lists several NFL players who have spoken out against the effects of youth tackle football, including Steve Young, Drew Brees, and Brett Favre, among others.
Daniels referenced information from a group called Save Youth Football California, which announced in an April 11 news release that AB 734 had been pulled from committee before it could receive a vote. A call to the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, & Tourism Committee on April 19 by Sentinel staff confirmed that AB 734 will not be heard in the committee again until January 2024.
“We are extremely satisfied with this outcome,” Save Youth Football California stated in the press release, adding that the California Youth Football Act of 2019 already provides players with the “safest environment” in which to play youth football.
Daniels credited “very well organized outcry of the public” as the reason for the bill being removed from consideration this year.