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Wisconsin bill makes harassing sports officials a crime

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Harassing sports officials in Wisconsin would be a crime punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and nine months in jail under a bipartisan proposal introduced this week in the Legislature.

The bill, which is supported by various sports organizations, is designed to protect referees and other officials from violent fans and remove a barrier to younger people signing up to officiate games, particularly at the high school level. There have been an increasing number of incidents in Wisconsin and across the country, particularly at youth sporting events, where parents and fans have attacked referees.