By Kurt Erickson
SPRINGFIELD - Add restaurant playgrounds to the list of places where sex offenders aren't welcome in Illinois.
Under legislation headed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk, sex offenders no longer would be allowed to loiter in the play areas of private businesses.
State Rep. Frances Ann Hurley, D-Chicago, sponsored the proposal after an incident last year in Cook County in which a sex offender had been eyeing young children playing at a fast-food restaurant.
Hurley said the measure doesn't ban sex offenders from restaurants, however.
Sex offenders face numerous restrictions about where they can live, where they can go and where they can work in communities throughout Illinois.
Along with having to register with local police in order to keep track of where they live, sex offenders cannot reside or loiter within 500 feet of a school, playground or a facility providing programs directed toward children under age 18.
Sex offenders also cannot operate any type of business in which he or she photographs, videotapes, or takes a digital image of a child. They also are banned from handing out candy at Halloween, wearing a Santa Claus costume or dressing in an Easter Bunny costume when kids are around.
The governor is expected to sign the legislation into law.
“We did not take a position on this bill, but are supportive of efforts to protect the state’s children,” said Quinn spokesman David Blanchette.
The legislation is House Bill 3023 (PDF).