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A06141 Summary:

Creates the temporary "commission to prevent childhood drowning" to evaluate and develop programs to properly educate and instruct children how to swim and water safety.
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A06141 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to create a temporary "commission to prevent childhood drowning" to improve water safety in New York state; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1. A temporary commission to be known as the "commission to prevent childhood drowning", hereafter referred to as the "commission", is hereby created to evaluate and develop programs to properly educate and instruct children on water safety and how to swim. § 2. (a) The commission shall consist of eleven members to be appointed as follows: three members appointed by the governor; two members appointed by the temporary president of the senate; two members appointed by the speaker of the assembly; one member appointed by the minority leader of the senate, one member appointed by the minority leader of the assembly; the chancellor of the board of regents of the University of the State of New York or his or her designee; and the commissioner of the department of parks, recreation and historic preser- vation or his or her designee; and five ad hoc members, with one member each of the statewide chapter of the following organizations: the Ameri- can Red Cross, the YMCA, the YWCA, the Boys and Girls Club, the Jewish Community Center and the New York State Swim Commission. Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner provided for, original appointments and designations. (b) The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties pursuant to this act. The commission may employ and at pleasure remove such personnel as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions and fix their compen- sation within the amounts made available by appropriation therefor. (c) The commission may hold public hearings and shall have all the powers of a legislative committee pursuant to the legislative law and is hereby authorized and empowered to undertake any studies, inquiries, surveys or analyses it may deem relevant through its own personnel or in cooperation with or by agreement with any other public or private agen- cy. (d) To the maximum extent feasible, the commission shall be entitled to request and be provided with such resources and data of any department, division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or any poli- tical subdivision thereof as it may reasonably request to carry out properly its powers and duties pursuant to this act. (e) The members of the commission or any committee thereof may partic- ipate in a meeting of such commission or committee by means of a tele- phone conference or any similar communications equipment allowing all persons participating to hear each other at the same time; participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at such meeting. § 3. The commission shall:(a) Determine an appropriate age and/or stage of childhood development when children can properly begin water safety and swimming instructions and develop statewide standards for such instruction; (b) Investigate and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of programs which incentivize parents and guardians to enroll children in water safety and swimming instruction; (c) Develop a comprehensive plan and provide the estimated state cost for public-private partnerships between the state and community centers, nonprofit organizations, recreational facilities, swimming instructors, and other relevant stakeholders and expanding existing state resources such as parks and pools to provide access to free swimming instruction, and determine the feasibility of such programs; (d) Develop an implementation plan to ensure its swimming safety programs are available in underserved communities; and (e) Develop a comprehensive plan and provide the annual estimated state cost for a public awareness campaign to ensure parents and guardians receive information on the importance of children receiving basic water safety and swimming instruction. § 4. The commission shall make recommendations and a report of its find- ings no later than one year after the effective date of this act. The commission shall submit such recommendations and report, including any recommendations for legislative action as it may deem necessary and appropriate, to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, and shall publish its report online. § 5. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be deemed repealed eighteen months after it shall have become a law.   JUSTIFICATION: According to the United States Center of Disease Control From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boat- ing related) annually in the United States - about ten deaths per day.l An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and youn- ger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emer- gency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabili- ties, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegeta- tive state). Research has also found that early swimming skills help. Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years.9,10 However, many people don't have basic swimming skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for many children starting at age 1. The decision to start water-survival skills training or swim lessons at an early age must be individualized on the basis of the child's frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical and cognitive limitations and health concerns related to swim- ming pools. A study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found formal swimming lessons reduced the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. This legislation would increase access to swim training programs and hopefully prevent countless unnecessary tragedy.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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