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Bill aims to close loophole

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- Lawmakers are trying to close a loophole in order to keep you and your kids safe.

Their proposal would ban people with certain criminal records from working at a carnival or amusement park. Right now, only ride operators must undergo background checks. 

"They might have had very dangerous convictions on their record, but they were still around children and they could still be around people operating the rides so this tries to correct that," says Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Illinois). 

That loophole became clear in 2013. 

"Video shows they were actually around the public and, of course, ultimately killed a young man in Farmer City. They were very violent and very dangerous people," says Bennett.   

The young man was Blayne Benefield. The two brothers who stabbed and strangled him worked for Big H Amusement which houses A and A Attractions.

Fairs in the area have still been able to find the good behind the company. 

"I can only say positive things about this lady and her show. We have had problems, minor problems. She has addressed them immediately," says Vermilion County Fair Board President Rick White. 

The Vermilion County Fair learned about the company's history right before last year's fair. Since A and A Attractions has done well, they'll be bringing them back again. 

White says they're very serious about protecting fairgoers.

"I've been on the board 40 years and it's mainly about kids and if I feel like kids aren't getting treated fairly or there's any danger of any sort, I'm going to address it," says White. 

"As long as there are only a few companies out there and they're going to be continue to be recycled and they're going to continue to work at fairs in our community, we need to make sure they're good actors doing what they're supposed to do," states Bennett. 

The lawyer for Blayne Benefield's parents said they hope they bill becomes law and they're happy Senator Bennett is taking action to close the loophole.

They said, "No parent should ever go through what we did when we lost Blayne and closing the loophole for carnival worker background checks is progress toward that goal."

The bill is headed to the Senate next. 


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