Des Moines, Iowa — The 2020 Iowa legislature will NOT boost the penalties for assaulting referees, umpires, line judges and other sports officials. Bills on the topic were permanently tabled in the House AND the Senate this week.
Representative Tom Moore of Griswold retired this summer after officiating high school softball games for the past 30 years. He was a high school wrestling official for 38 years.
But Moore says assault is assault and it makes no sense to single out sports officials as a protected class.
Currently state law DOES call for enhanced penalties for assaulting police, fire fighters, prison guards, nurses and doctors and some state employees — including tax collectors. Moore says adding sports officials to that list won’t really address the state’s referee shortage.
Moore was Griswold’s football coach for 23 years. He says proposed liability protection for the decisions referees make during a game was another problem area in the bill he helped shelve at the statehouse.