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Rep. Miller's bipartisan bill to protect sports officials passes House

June 25, 2021
Joseph A. Miller III News

COLUMBUS— State Reps. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) and Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) today announced the House passage of HB 44, legislation that will increase penalties for the assault of a sports official.

HB 44 would bring the penalty for assaulting a sports official in line with the same protections offered to teachers and administrators. The Ohio High School Athletics Association has decried the “alarming shortage” of high school officials, primarily because four out of five quit within two years. Of those that quit, 75 percent cited “adult behavior” as their primary motivation for leaving. 

“As a referee for over 20 years, I understand the tremendous benefits that sports provide to athletes, parents and their communities. That is why it is imperative for us to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for everyone involved. Ohio needs to do more to protect our officials, and avoid this looming crisis before referee shortages become a major obstacle in the future. This bill sends an unmistakable message that we will not tolerate assault on sports officials,” said Rep. Miller. 

Currently, there are 21 states who have enacted similar legislation. HB 44 now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.