Lawmakers look to close sex offender loophole

Published 02/07 2014 04:21PM

Updated 02/07 2014 05:18PM

ILLINOIS -- Some lawmakers who see loopholes in our state's laws want to crack down on registered sex offenders. They're already banned from playgrounds and parks. Now, lawmakers want to keep them from going to county fairs.

They're already prohibited from working at fairgrounds, but this would take it a step further and keep registered sex offenders from even visiting the property. Supporters say it only makes sense because fairs are places for families so there are often a lot of kids present.

Some critics say the idea doesn't go far enough since the proposal doesn't ban them from state fairs or local festivals. But, supporters say, anything which helps keeps kids safe is a step in the right direction.

One other idea being considered would require a sex offender to notify the state if he loses his job. Tightening sex offender rules has been a top priority for lawmakers lately. Last year, they banned them from passing out Halloween candy and dressing up as Santa or the Easter Bunny.

The number of people on the state's sex registry has continually climbed the past decade. In 2005, there were just over 17,000 registered sex offenders. Last year, the number was over 22,000. In 2013, there were more than 742,000 registered nationally.

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