House blows the whistle on referee battering

The penalty for attacking a referee would get a little more strict under a bill passed in the Louisiana House on Monday.

House Bill 227, sponsored by state Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, would increase the penalty for battery of a “school or recreation athletic contest official” from its current penalty of a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

HB227 would:

• Change the penalty to a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 and up to three months in jail.

• Increase the jail term up to six months if the offense results in an injury to the victim.

• Adds 40 hours of community service and requires offenders to get counseling at their own expense.

HB 227 passed on a 93-1 vote. It now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Henry said the bill was meant as a deterrent to violent acts against referees at sporting events.