Friday, April 10, 2009

House Crime Prevention Committee Considers Rep. Grill's Legislation to Protect Sports Officials

An increase in violence towards sports officials has prompted Representative Jason Grill, D-Parkville, to propose legislation that would ensure the safety of such officials during sporting events. The House Crime Prevention Committee heard testimony this week on HB 754 which calls for tougher penalties for unruly sports fans found guilty of attempting to cause bodily harm to officials during sporting events.

“Increasing the penalty to a class A misdemeanor will ensure that officials can do their job fairly without fear of physical retribution from disgruntled fans,” said Grill. “There are already many precautions taken to protect athletes on the field. It is time that we start doing more to protect Missouri’s officials.”

Many witnesses came to the hearing in support of the bill including the Missouri State High School Activities Association, Central Missouri Soccer Referees Association, Mid Missouri Umpires Association, and several other longtime sports officials. Representative Steve Hodges, D- East Prairie, a sports official, also testified in support of the bill.

The bill will now need to voted on in executive session to be allowed for debate on the House floor.