Kentucky bill aims to curb violence toward sports officials

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Three Republican lawmakers in Kentucky say they plan to introduce a bill that would make intimidating sports officials a misdemeanor offense.

State Rep. Randy Bridges of Paducah said Tuesday that the measure aims to restore respect for sports officials. The bill would also create a felony offense for physically assaulting officials.

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Bridges says the goal is to prevent “highly charged” situations from escalating at sporting events.

The bill stems from a spring incident in which a Kentucky referee was punched and knocked unconscious in Paducah. The alleged assailant is charged with assault.

The referee, Kenny Culp, expressed support for the bill during a news conference Tuesday.

Under the bill, an intimidation offense would include threatening physical injury or property damage.

The bill’s cosponsors include Reps. Brandon Reed and Chad McCoy.

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Bobbi McSwine joined the ABC 36 News Team in March 2020. She started as a Web Content Producer in November 2019. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL, known to many as the “Windy City.” She studied journalism at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. While in school, she had a number of internships ranging from Free Spirit Media, ABC 7 Chicago and Illinois Public Media. She fell in love with writing in high school and paired that with a newfound passion for storytelling in college. She misses her hometown, but she loves the horses and rich history in Lexington. When she’s not working, she’s probably listening to music or binge-watching Netflix. She’s always looking to get to know more people in Central Kentucky, so feel free to shoot her a message on Facebook @BobbiWTVQ, follow her on Twitter @McSwineB_News, or send her an email at bmcswine@wtvq.com.