Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee voted favorably to send sports officials assault legislation to the whole Senate for a vote, with a recommendation that the bills, if enacted, be given immediate effect. The measure passed by a 3-1 vote with one abstention. The bills, SB 200 and 201, are at the same point where they stalled two years ago. We need to get them considered by the Senate as a whole. The way to do this is by putting some pressure on individual senators and, particularly, Senator Meekhof, the Majority Leader. A letter writing (email) and telephone campaign from officials can help.
We urge you to contact your State Senator and Senator Meekhof by email, letter and/or telephone to ask their support. Here is a link to identify your Senator and obtain contact information: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html. Below is the outline of a letter you may use as a guide:
I am a resident of ________ and a sports official. I have officiated the sport(s) of __________________ for __ years. I write to urge you to bring SB 200 and 201 to a vote by the Senate as a whole and support their passage. These bills enhance penalties for assaults committed against sport officials.
Assaults against sports officials have increased dramatically in frequency and severity over the past several years. I am sure you are aware of the recreational league soccer official, John Bieniewicz, who was killed on the field in Livonia by a punch from an angry player: http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/07/michigan-senate-panel-increases-penalties-assault-referees/98872232/. We need this legislation now. Young people are not becoming officials, or drop out soon after starting, because of the increasing violence and abuse referees and umpires endure. This threatens the long-term viability of youth, recreational and school sports programs throughout the state.
I urge you to support these bills.