August 20, 2014

Smiddy touts sex offender legislation

8-19-2014 Illinois:

Illinois Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, on Tuesday paid a visit to the 144th annual Whiteside County Fair but it wasn’t just to enjoy the sights and sounds of the fair.

Instead, Smiddy came to deliver a message to his constituents about the presence of registered sex offenders at the county fair.

Currently Illinois State law prohibits any registered sex offender from working or being affiliated with any county fair. The law does not place restrictions on their attendance to the fair.

Smiddy’s message on Tuesday was that he’s working to change that.

“It was a misstep when they drafted the legislation,” Smiddy said. “So, it’s important for us to do this sooner than later.”

Joining him for the press conference were Illinois State Attorney Trish Joyce and Whiteside County Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi, whose pressure convinced Smiddy to pursue the new piece of legislation.

According to Joyce, an incident at last year’s Whiteside County Fair involving a registered sex offender and a child prompted her and Wilhelmi to investigate the law and look to extend it to the prevention of attendance for registered sex offenders.

“This is an area that sexual predators target,” Wilhelmi said. “It’s disturbing that we haven’t gotten it taken care of. Kids should feel safe at the fair.”

If the legislation passes, which Smiddy said will be revisited in November when the veto session commences, then it will become the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office responsibility to enforce. ..Source.. by Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer

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