Aiming to spur baseball and other sports to adopt tougher steroids policies, Sens. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are reintroducing legislation that would standardize drug testing and penalties for professional leagues.

The new bill combines two already proposed separately by Bunning, who was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1996, and McCain. Bunning said the new legislation would be introduced next Tuesday or Wednesday.

"We have heard a lot of talk from professional sports leagues that they would do something to clean up this mess, but so far it has been just that: a lot of talk," Bunning said yesterday during a conference call with reporters. "Hopefully Congress's action will light a fire under their feet to come to an agreement before we do it for them."

Like the earlier bills from Bunning and McCain, this one is based on the Olympic model, calling for a two-year suspension for an athlete who fails a steroids test for the first time and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Athletes would be tested at least five times a year, three during the season and two in the offseason.

During congressional hearings on steroids over the past eight months, the focus has been on baseball, but Bunning's bill would also apply to the NFL, NBA and NHL.

Baseball currently suspends a player 10 days for a first offense. In April, Commissioner Bud Selig called for a 50-game suspension after an initial positive test, a 100-game ban for a second offense and a lifetime ban for a third violation.

-- From News Services