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UPDATE: Wisconsin bill makes harassing sports officials a crime

Local News
TUESDAY 12/31/19 3:03 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Harassing sports officials in Wisconsin would be a crime punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and nine months in jail under a new bipartisan proposal.

The bill introduced this week in the state Legislature is designed to protect referees and other officials from violent fans.

There have been an increasing number of incidents where fans have attacked officials in Wisconsin and across the country.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and other sports organizations sought the proposal amid increasing incidents of referee harassment.

They see the bill as a way to help stem a drop in people willing to be officials.

The Associated Press has contributed to this story.

Bill seeks to protect referees from unsportsmanlike conduct

WEDNESDAY 12/11/19

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) There are not enough sports officials in Wisconsin and some say the reason is simple – unsportsmanlike conduct from fans, coaches, and players.

A bipartisan bill would make certain confrontations a misdemeanor crime.

Nearly half of new officials in Wisconsin quit within the first three years and they say combative fans, coaches and players are to blame.

Fans can still shout at officials if this bill passes as long as they stay away from the referees.

Nearly half of new officials in Wisconsin quit within the first three years and they say combative fans, coaches and players are to blame.

Fans can still shout at officials if this bill passes as long as they stay away from the referees.

Tom Senecal is a referee and President of the Green Bay Official’s Association.

He says, “it’s important to know that if you leave the bleachers and accost us in the locker room area; there’s going to be a penalty for that”.

If this bill passes, offenders could face up to forty hours of community service or have to participate in anger management counseling.

Twenty-four states have a similar bill.

If you would like to learn more about becoming an official, contact Tom Senecal at tsenecal@gtasafe.com.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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