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Legislation proposed for 2020 legislative session to strengthen penalties for assaulting sports officials

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Legislation proposed for the 2020 General Assembly by two House members would increase penalties for assaulting a sports official.

Rep. Randy Bridges, R-Paducah, and Rep. Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville, are the sponsors of the measure, which also adds the crime of intimidation of a sports official.

Proposed legislation on tougher penalties for attacking sports officials is being considered for the 2020 General Assembly 2020. (Kentucky Today file photo)

Under current state law, assault of a sports official is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail, if convicted. An exception is if five or more people are involved in the assault, it becomes a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison.

The time frame covered by the statute includes causing an injury while a game is in progress, or while the sports official is arriving or leaving the athletic facility.

The two lawmakers’ proposal treats any instance of assault of a sports official a Class D felony, regardless of the number of people involved.

The language of their legislation states a person would be guilty of intimidation of a sports official, if they directly or indirectly makes any threat to an official, in an effort to cause the sports official to commit, make, or delay any act, decision, or determination regarding a present or future sports contest, if it meets any of the following criteria:

• Causes physical injury to any person.

• Causes physical damage to the property of any person other than the person making the threat.

• Subjects any person other than the person making the threat to physical confinement or restraint.

• Commits any other act which is illegal and is intended to substantially harm any person other than the person making the threat with respect to the other person’s health, safety, business, financial condition, or personal relationships.

Conviction on a charge of Intimidation of a sports official would be a Class A misdemeanor.

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