Trampoline park regulators look for taut, not overly tight, regulations
Legislation to place new restrictions on state trampoline parks needs to have some flexibility, one park owner said.
“In general, we believe that regulation is a good thing for our industry,” Jeff Platt, CEO of the nationwide indoor trampoline park franchise Sky Zone, told the Chicago City Wire. “Our industry has come a long way in implementing safety standards for our parks, but this is an area we, and every business, can always work to improve.”
House Bill 3897 would compel the state’s Department of Labor to promulgate regulations on trampoline parks and commit several thousands of taxpayer dollars to establishing new standards and inspection methods.
A Fiscal Note was requested by Republican leadership, but the only financial impact noted was on the Department of Revenue needing to commit approximately $7,140 to overtime pay, travel expenses, new inspection equipment and training.
The bill would also amend the State Finance Act to create the Trampoline Court Safety Fund.
Platt serves as a member of the board of directors of the International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP), a trade group dedicated to representing indoor trampoline park operators. He has also served as the group's chairman.
The IATP maintains a similar stance to Platt’s in advocating for “optimal safety standards in trampoline parks worldwide.”
“The IATP was created ... under the guiding principles of ensuring the integrity, transparency, and innovation of the indoor trampoline park industry and to promote safe operations, facilitate commercial success and stimulate growth," according to a 2015 press release it issued.
Those opposed to the bill, which was proposed by Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) in February, have called it a waste of time when the Legislature still hasn’t worked out a budget. The Illinois Policy Institute characterized the priorities of the lawmakers who brought forth the bill as “out of whack.”
When asked about how much regulation is too much, Platt answered, “That is a tough one. I think what's most important is that regulators work with operators to create the right standards.”
The bill now faces the Senate with Majority Whip Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) as the chief sponsor after the House voted nearly down party lines to pass the legislation 64 to 46. The vote was also down party lines as HB3897 made its way out of committee earlier in the session.
Some of the criticisms drawn from the passage of such a bill include questions regarding the priorities of lawmakers in the state. Notably, the Illinois Policy Institute, one of the most outspoken critics of HB3897, has characterized the bill as a waste of time when the state doesn't even have a balanced budget proposal.
"Instead of focusing on regulating trampolines, lawmakers should jump at the idea of enacting economic reforms that can change the trajectory of the state," a writer for Illinois Policy Institute stated. "As part of a balanced budget, passing a true, permanent property tax freeze and ending costly state subsides to local governments would be two ways lawmakers could give Illinoisans confidence that they are serious in turning the state around. Regulating trampolines is not."