(Springfield, IL) – February 18, 2010. The Illinois House yesterday overwhelming approved legislation that would ban child sex offenders from working at local municipal fairs.
The bill, House Bill 4675, sponsored by State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), zoomed through the House, 90-16-6, with bipartisan support. However, the opposition, tiny as it was, was bipartisan, too.
Opponents, for example, included liberal lawmakers such as House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and conservatives such as House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Ron Stephens (R-Greenville).
Harris said he opposed the measure “[b]ecause of overly broad drafting and imprecise language and definitions that would be difficult to enforce and possibly unconstitutionally vague”
Fritchey expressed similar concerns. “It’s poorly drafted, unlikely to accomplish its intended goal, and unlikely to hold up in court.”
House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who voted for the bill, said:
“Some voted no because they have had enough of criminalizing everything a sex offender does after they have paid a debt to society, even breathing. Some voted no because they felt the bill was vague. I voted yes because, even though I agree with all of the above, on balance the bill seemed reasonable.”
The legislation prohibits a child sex offender from managing, being employed or even being “associated” with any local fair operated by a municipality when children under 18 are present. And it seems to have more than “kiddie rides” in mind, because it also includes fairs in which “goods” are traded or displayed, such as art fairs, antique fairs, farm equipment fairs, etc.
Sente’s legislation faces an uncertain future if it reaches Governor Pat Quinn‘s desk. The Governor’s office issued the following statement on the bill: “If and when the legislation arrives on the Governor’s desk, he will review it.”
In addition to Sente, House sponsors include: Eddie Lee Jackson, Linda Chapa LaVia, Naomi Jakobsson, Arthur Turner, Cynthia Soto, Will Davis, Marlow Colvin, André Thapedi, Michael Zalewski, Deborah Mell, Daniel Beiser, Esther Golar, Jack McGuire, Jack Franks and Keith Farnham–all Democrats.
The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
So….. uh….. What prompted this legislation? Is it a rash of rapes at fairs? Doubt it. Was it becuase so many children are victimized by strangers? Nope. It’s just another piece of legislation that ‘appears’ to be a feather in a cap of a career minded politician but is in reality useless. Next on the docket should be an anti-nun beating legislation or how about making the a mandate that grass is green.
Do any of you know the facts? 97%+ of sex offenses are committed IN THE HOME BY RELATIVES OR FRIENDS. Really want to stop all sex offenses? Get rid of the parents. Want to punish sex offenders more? Pass more stupid legislation like this. But remember, there are nearly 800,000 sex offenders registered in this country…. why would you want to piss off that many people…especially when you are (irrationally) afraid of them? Give them a reason to retaliate and they just might. 800,000 ex cons pissed off with nothing to lose. Sounds like a party.
GaBPosted by GaB | February 18, 2010, 6:02 PM
Another idiotic sex offender bill. As least we have a few good legislators who are willing to vote against it.Posted by Tonya D. | February 19, 2010, 12:17 AM
Current Sex offender laws are a clear example of the very similar hysteria Americans faced during the Salem Witch Trials. Family members were accusing their own sisters of being “Witches” just so they would not be looked at as a witches themselves. Thankfully, we Americans can look back and laugh at the Salem Witch Trials as foolish hysteria, but sex offender laws are starting to mimic the same pattern of human rights violations suffered by those who were called “witches” during their days. Some women who were found by the U.S Court system to be witches were tied to chairs, lowered into rivers and drowned in public. History repeats itself and these SO laws will one day be looked back on as gross human rights violations. The sooner they end, the sooner America will get back her standing in the in the eyes of our Founding Fathers.Posted by Tonia | February 19, 2010, 10:33 AM
This sickens me. They want to make it so sex offenders can’t even find employment as carnival workers. Pathetic, truly pathetic. I am glad to see some standing up and voting no but there need to be more. The tide MUST turn soon for the sake of these people’s human and civil rights.Posted by Teresa | February 19, 2010, 11:01 AM
This new legislation passed prohibits a child sex offender from managing, being employed or even being “associated” with any local fair operated by a municipality when children under 18 are present. And it also includes fairs in which “goods” are traded or displayed, such as art fairs, antique fairs, farm equipment fairs, etc.
Current research shows that the best interests of the children and families in this country are not being served by the policies currently in place, or being currently proposed. In order to better protect the society as a whole and children in particular, research proves it is more prudent, to take a rational, evidenced-based approach to public policy. This approach makes for better policy than rushing into law “Feel good” legislation based upon hype and hysteria, falsely intending to serve the purpose of protecting children and families.
There is not one empirical study suggesting the effectiveness of these laws.
While not the explicit intent of the “regulatory” laws, the consequences of these laws are a form of double jeopardy as those Former Offenders who served their time and paid their time continue to be punished when they are denied employment.
No legislative member wants to be seen as one that “coddles molesters” or is “soft on crime,” but how about “smart on crime?” It is not good policy to pass a “feel good´ law that in all probability will be declared unconstitutional after expensive legal challenges and then merit being repealed. This approach will send mixed messages to constituents. Without giving up our freedoms we already punish criminals severely. We punish them at a far greater rate than other countries. In fact we have 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prison population, costing precious dollars in these uncertain economic times.
I urge you to please consider carefully your position on Sex Offender Restrictions. I will not support your decision to support any Bill related to additional restrictions of Sex Offenders “as a whole.”
Steve CecchettiPosted by Steve Cecchetti | February 19, 2010, 12:37 PM
These laws are being passed against sex offenders who being lumped into one barrel. There is no evidence that these laws protect children or even adults. But since the sex offender lists have been on the internet, sex offenders and their families have been harassed, beaten up, defamed and moved several times. All of these things are against the law. But no protection from the police or the state’s attorney. The sex offender sees his family get hurt and has no recourse like a “normal” person. There even has been murder of a sex offender and his family. People (sex appointed vigilantes) think they have the right to do this. Politicians looking for power do not do the research pass unconstitutional laws. Just try putting in drunk driver instead of sex offender in these laws like a radio commentator did recently. Then maybe reality of the unfairness of these laws will hit home.Posted by Amy Gibbons | February 19, 2010, 2:46 PM
How absurd. Next will be a law that former sex offenders may not work at McDonalds because kids buy Happy Meals, appliance stores because children watch TV, or garbage collectors because they may find toys once belonging to children.
Don’t these legislators have any serious work to do? This is an example of more shameless pandering to the worst instincts of constituents. Except this time, the constituents just might see through it.Posted by bartelby | February 24, 2010, 10:48 PM
Yes, your logic is correct if carried to the extreme. However, I doubt voters will see through it.
Thank you for reading.
David OrmsbyPosted by David Ormsby | February 25, 2010, 4:55 AM
Most so called offenders now days are kids! Check the facts.Posted by dianne | February 25, 2010, 12:07 PM