Indiana House backs bill allowing younger sports referees

Legislators have approved a change in state law sought by a 13-year-old southern Indiana boy that would allow sports leagues to hire youths like him as referees.

The Indiana House voted 92-4 on Monday in favor of the bill adding youth sports officials to the list of jobs for which children younger than 14 can be hired. Currently, law allows exceptions for golf caddies, farm workers and newspaper carriers.

Thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart of Newburgh testified before a House committee last week, saying the change will get more children off the couches and away from video games. He hopes to referee soccer games before his next birthday.

State senators unanimously approved the change in January. The bill will now go to Gov. Mike Pence for his consideration.

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