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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 26, 2023 10:33 AM
From: Representative Anita Astorino Kulik
To: All House members
Subject: Harassment of a Sports Official
Sports officials, such as umpires and referees, are essential to the sporting events thousands of families attend in each year in Pennsylvania and to the youth sports programs that build community and foster fitness in Pennsylvania youth. Regardless of the sport, a sports official’s job is a highly stressful one. This is due in no small part to the split-second, often contentious, rulings they are required to make. These calls sometimes result in strong disagreements expressed by players, coaches, and spectators. In one survey, nearly half of sports officials report they had felt unsafe or feared for their safety because of the behavior of an administrator, coach, parent or player. While current law protects sports officials from cases of assault, current law does not offer additional protection from harassment.
I am therefore introducing legislation that would create the separate offense of harassment of a sports official. Sports officials should be able to perform their duties without threats of personal injury, administrative hearings, or litigation because of their game calls. My legislation would apply to sports officials throughout the state and protect them from harassment that arises as a result of them simply doing their job. Similar legislation has been enacted in Alabama and Louisiana.
Please join me in protecting our sports officials by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB297