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A proposed Arkansas House bill would stiffen and expand the penalty for mistreating a sports official



Little Rock, Arkansas – The Arkansas House is considering a bill that would strengthen protections for sports officials and stiffen punishments for offenders.

On Thursday, House Bill 1496 was put forth. The law raises the definition of hurting a sports official from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony and broadens the associated penalties.

The proposed bill deletes the clause that now defines a violation as hitting an official. Instead, it would involve harming an official, making unwanted physical contact with an official, or giving the impression that an official was about to suffer damage.

The maximum punishment increases from up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine to up to six years in jail and a $10,000 fine for violators as a result of the particular shift from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony.

Rep. Lane Jean and Rep. Brian Evans (both Republicans) are cosponsors of HB1496, which is sponsored by Rep. RJ Hawk (R- Bryant) (R-Magnolia).