Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes snow sports helmet bill
LAKE TAHOE andamp;#8212; Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill this week that would have required children under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding.andamp;#8220;While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state,andamp;#8221; Brown wrote in his veto message Wednesday. andamp;#8220;Not every human problem deserves a law.andamp;#8221;The bill’s author, Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), responded sharply to the veto.andamp;#8220;How can California not set minimum standards for children’s ski safety when the data is so conclusive that helmets save lives and reduce severity of head injuries,andamp;#8221; Yee said in a statement. andamp;#8220;We do not allow parental choice for car seats and seat belts or basic vaccinations for children attending schools; nor should a helmet for kids on ski slopes be optional.andamp;#8221;Brown’s office did not return calls requesting comment for this story.Though Yee is not a regular skier, child safety on the ski slopes is important issue in his field of expertise, child psychology. The bill was supported by the California Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Though the California Ski Industry Association and the National Ski Area Association supported the bill, some individual ski areas did not.andamp;#8220;We appreciate the governor’s decision to keep the responsibility of helmet use on the parents, rather than require us to enforce it,andamp;#8221; said Heavenly Mountain Resort spokesman Russ Pecoraro.Last year, Yee introduced an identical bill that was anchored to another piece of legislation that would have required ski resorts to develop and make available to the public safety plans. Then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised Yee for his efforts, but vetoed the safety plan bill, which killed the helmet bill as well.Proponents of the helmet bill argue that data shows helmets on the ski slopes could prevent thousands of injuries each year and that parents generally support the bill.andamp;#8220;Unfortunately, the Governor ignored the pleas of parents who were asking for this law and for a simple tool to help get their kids to wear helmets on the slopes,andamp;#8221; Yee said.Daniel Gregorie, president of Snow Sports Safety Foundation, was surprised and disappointed in Brown’s decision to veto the helmet bill.The SSSF will continue working toward safety at ski resorts outside of legislation, but a law would be more effective than independent efforts, Gregorie said.andamp;#8220;I really have a hard time understanding why he vetoed our bill,andamp;#8221; Gregorie said.Yee’s office will continue to push for legislation, said spokesman Adam Keigwin, who acknowledged that helmet use is growing on its own.andamp;#8220;We’ll just have to talk to (Gov. Brown) and show him the evidence and show him it can make a difference,andamp;#8221; Keigwin said.
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