AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas House has given preliminary approval to legislation that would require random steroids testing of Texas public school athletes as soon as next fall.
The measure still requires a final House vote.
A similar bill received final approval from the state Senate hours before yesterday's House vote. The bills differ in how to pay for what would be the largest high school testing program in the country.
The program would test at least 22,000 -- or about three percent -- of the public school athletes.
Students who test positive would have to sit out of competition for 30 days. Repeat positive tests could lead to a permanent ban.
The bill now goes to the House, which is considering a similar but less specific measure and could take a vote later today.
The House measure would require the University Interscholastic League, the state's governing body for high school sports, to assess a fee on sports tickets. The Senate would have the state bear the cost of about $4 million per year.