Louisiana bill makes it a crime to yell at referees, coaches
House Bill 184, introduced by Rep. Cameron Henry, only awaits the governor’s signature before becoming law. The bill passed the Senate earlier this month by a 35-0 vote and, days later, was approved by the House, 102-1.The legislation creates a “crime of harassment of a school or recreation athletic contest official.” The bill defines harassment as any action that would cause a reasonable person to be placed in fear of receiving bodily harm. “Athletic contest officials” include referees, umpires, coaches, instructors, administrators, staff persons, or school or school board employee of any public or private elementary or secondary school.
Anyone who violates the law could face a fine of up to $500 and six months in jail.
A number of states have considered adopting greater protections for referees, but including verbal harassment is a significant step. For example, earlier this year Indiana lawmakers discussed greater penalties for those who physically assault referees.
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