Still no budget deal but House passes bill to regulate trampoline parks
A legislative proposal that would regulate trampoline parks – which made it through the House of Representatives on a 64 to 46 vote – has some wondering about the legislative priorities of lawmakers in Springfield.
To opponents, including the Illinois Policy Institute, the bill appears to serve as a bulwark to avoid other business, such as balancing the state’s budget.
"Instead of focusing on regulating trampolines, lawmakers should jump at the idea of enacting economic reforms that can change the trajectory of the state,” according to a blog post on the institute’s website.
House Bill 3897, dubbed the Trampoline Safety Act, was introduced by Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) to serve to create more stringent regulations on the industry. HB3897 garnered three other sponsors – Reps. Laura Fine (D-Glenview), Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), and Robert Martwick Jr. (D-Norridge) – after being introduced in and filed with the clerk in February.
Nekritz told Chicago City Wire she supported the bill because it was a personal matter.
“I was a competitive gymnast when I was a kid,” Nekritz said. “And I worked out on a trampoline and flown off a few more times that I can care to remember.”
She said the regulations stem from the intentions of protecting the public as best as possible.
“We often need to do what we can to preserve public safety when it comes to these sorts of activities,” she said. She doesn't expect it to negatively impact the business community. “I don’t know why it would have an effect of limiting people starting up such a business if they want to.”
Neither Gabel, Fine or Martwick returned requests for comment.
The vote fell along party lines in committee, and the bill passed the House on April 28. HB3897 moves onto the Senate where the majority whip, Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), serves as the bill’s sponsor.
If passed and signed into law, the bill calls on the Illinois Department of Labor to promulgate new rules and regulations regarding the safety of operating a trampoline park. The bill also would amend the existing State Finance Act to create the Trampoline Court Safety Fund. Since the regulations would require state regulators and inspection activities that monitor safe installation, repair, use, and operation, among other activities, there would be a cost to the state.
The fiscal note indicated that the passage of the bill would mean a cost of $7,140 added to the state's out-of-balance fiscal obligations.
According to the bill, it would only affect commercial facilities, “with a defined area composed of one or more trampolines, a series of trampolines, a trampoline court foam pit, or a series of trampoline court foam pits.” Local governments, schools, and other private entities that don’t fit the criteria would not be affected.