Sports Officials Testify For Legislation to Stop Attacks

October 21, 1999

(MADISON, Wis.) — National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) public relations manager, Bob Still, appeared today before the Wisconsin State Assembly’s Committee on Judiciary and Personal Privacy, to testify on behalf of the association’s more than 19,000 members in support of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 339.

Under current Wisconsin law, ordinary battery (intentionally causing bodily harm to another person without consent) is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by imprisonment of not more than nine months or a fine of not more than $10,000 or both. However, current law also provides for felony penalties for ordinary battery that is committed under certain special circumstances. Under these so-called "special circumstances" batteries, it is a felony to commit ordinary battery against law enforcement officers, fire fighters, probation and parole agents, witnesses, jurors, school district officers and employees, public transit vehicle operators and passengers, emergency medical technicians, ambulance drivers and certain public officials.

AB 339 makes it a Class E felony for a person to commit an ordinary battery against a sports official because of any act of the sports official or in order to influence the official acts of the sports official. A Class E felony is punishable by imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $10,000 or both if the offense occurs before December 31, 1999, or by imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of $10,000 or both, if the offense occurs on or after December 31, 1999.

Currently, 13 states have enacted similar legislation to that being considered by the Wisconsin Assembly.