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Connecticut Senator Introduces Assault Legislation to Protect Sports Officials

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RACINE, Wis. — The state of Connecticut does not have strong laws in place supporting sports officials who are victims of menacing harassment or assault. To correct this, Connecticut Senate Bill 1088 — set for a virtual hearing on Wednesday, March 31 at 10:00 a.m. — would stiffen penalties for physically assaulting a sports official.

The hearing will be streamed online and will be available at this link.

House Bill 5558 and Senate Bill 526 were originally introduced by Rep. John Hampton and Sen. John Kissel and Sen. Witkos, respectively. House Bill 6260, introduced by Rep. Emmett D. Riley, was also introduced in the interest of protecting sports officials. Since then, House Bill 6260, House Bill 5558 and Senate Bill 526 were referred to Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Judiciary and merged into the legislation’s current form, Senate Bill 1088, introduced by the Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 1088 would stiffen penalties to a person who causes physical injury to a sport official in Connecticut. Physically assaulting a sports official in Connecticut, under Senate Bill 1088, would become a Class C felony — punishable by one to ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

For more details on the bill or to follow the bill’s progress, click this link. The full text of the bill can be viewed by clicking “Raised Bill” under the “Text of Bill” header.

TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF THIS EFFORT IS CRITICAL

Support of this bill with testimony from active and former officials is key. Both virtual and written testimony are options. Keep in mind that all testimony will become part of the public record. Here are some suggested guidelines if you plan to submit testimony:

WRITTEN TESTIMONY

      • Written testimonies can be personal stories, statistics from your organization on assaults, effects on your organization to recruit and retain sports officials, etc.
      • Written testimony must include the following:

    a. The bill number (Senate Bill 1088).

    • b. Whether your position is favorable to the bill, favorable with amendments or oppose the bill.
    • c. Your written testimony.
  • Written testimony should be limited to no more than five pages.

Written testimony should be submitted to: judtestimony@cga.ct.govWritten testimony sent must include the testifier’s name and the bill number.

VIRTUAL TESTIMONY

The hearing will be held virtually due to COVID-19. Anyone interested in testifying will have three minutes to do so.

When testifying virtually, keep the following in mind:

  • Be conscious of your background. A clean, presentable background when you appear on camera gives your testimony more credibility.
  • Keep your microphone muted until you’re ready to begin your testimony.
  • Three minutes will go quickly! Have your thoughts together ahead of time and consider practicing the timing of your testimony.

To sign up to speak virtually, visit this linkRegistration will close Tuesday, March 30 at 3:00 p.m. Speaker order of approved registrants will be listed in a randomized order and posted on the Judiciary Committee website on March 31 at 8:00 a.m. (the day of the hearing).

Many questions on testimony are answered in this short informational video here.

After the hearing has concluded, testimony will be available for viewing at this link.

Sports cannot function without officials. Please consider the importance to our communities that youth sports carry and remember how important your voice as an official truly is in this effort to ensure the safety of all sports officials in Connecticut.

For more on legislation affecting sports officials, visit www.naso.org/resources/legislation.

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About the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO)

NASO, based in Racine, Wis., is a not-for-profit educational organization and is the world’s largest organization for sports officials at every level and all sports. More than 26,000 sports officials from around the world belong to NASO, enjoying member benefits and supporting an organization that advocates for sports officials and that helps them maintain the highest level of officiating skills. Founded in 1980 by Barry Mano, NASO is governed by a 12-member board of directors coming from numerous sports and organizations. For more information, visit the NASO website at NASO.org.

Contact: Luke Modrovsky
Associate Editor
Referee Magazine/National Association of Sports Officials
lmodrovsky@referee.com

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