Proposed Law Would Stiffen Penalty For Assaulting Refs, Umpires

Lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse are again looking at new legislation to toughen the penalties for assaulting officials at sporting events.

Officials are proposing stiffer penalties for attacking a referee or umpire.

The bill is similar to one from last May and would create a mandatory fine of $1,500 and 40-hours of community service for a first offense.

Charges would escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony if a weapon is used in the assault.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association says it has been seeing a marked decrease in the number of new referee hires due to concerns of verbal or physical abuse from spectators.