The state of Ohio has proposed bills in both chambers of their state government that would protect referees from physical abuse by fans. This would be a law similar to those that protect normal school personnel against an attack by a student or parent. The penalty phase would be jail time and/or a fine.
Several states have developed such laws because the normal abuse referees and umpires take has gone beyond the verbal phase. People are now waiting outside gyms or in parking lots outside playing fields to confront an official that they did not agree with during the play of the game. The abuse has gone beyond a normal punch and has led to hospitalization in some cases.
This all sounds like a good idea to me! It is no wonder we can’t find people who want to do this any more.