Legislation sponsored by State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) will make it illegal for carnivals, state fairs, and amusement parks to hire child sex offenders.
Current Illinois state law explicitly bans any registered sex offenders from operating machinery or working on the premises of county fairs, but does not mention state fairgrounds or other amusements.
“State fairs are meant to be family friendly and safe environments,” Rep. Mazzochi said. “It’s a shame that it took incidents both nationally and here in Illinois to prompt this legislation.”
Recently, police arrested four Disney employees in Florida in a large undercover human trafficking operation in Florida. One of the employees was specifically attempting to send explicit communications with an underage girl.
Last year, the Illinois State Fair severed its contract with Miller Spectacular Shows, which was in the first year of a 10-year contract with the state to operate rides at the state fairgrounds. The Department of Agriculture fired the company after a report that they hired a convicted child sex offender to work on a children’s ride at the fairgrounds. The registered sex offender was released from jail just 6 months previously.
“The safety of fairgoers, particularly children, should be tantamount,” Rep. Mazzochi continued. “This law will close the loophole that allowed him to find work with children.”
Senate Bill 3019 makes it illegal for a child sex offender to knowingly, operate, manage, be employed by, or be associated with any carnival, amusement enterprise, or county or State fair when persons under the age of 18 are present.
SB 3019 passed the Senate unanimously and the House on a 104-2-5. It now heads to the Governor’s office for his signature.