Rep. Darlene Senger (R Naperville) and Sen Wilhelmi (he is leaving the Senate so there will be a new sponsor) joined up last year on a bill that required park districts to review juvenile adjudications before hiring youth.

HB 3129 passed the House last April 14th, 86-22. It opens up all juvenile adjudications, and prohibits hiring for the obvious offense of murder, but also for a host of drug offenses. That session day isn’t transcribed yet, but the roll call indicates the Black Caucus opposed the bill……it never got assigned to a committee in the House.

The bill has now been refiled as HB 4643 by Rep Senger. The synopsis is listed below. The bill is pending in House Rules – it has not yet been assigned to a committee:

Prohibits a park district from knowingly employing a minor who has been adjudicated as committing any of the following offenses: (i) unlawful use of weapons, (ii) a violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, (iii) a violation of certain provisions of the Cannabis Control Act, (iv) a forcible felony, (v) a violation of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, or (vi) a felony or a Class A or B misdemeanor. Provides that the Illinois Department of State Police shall conduct a search of the Illinois criminal history records database to ascertain if a minor applicant being considered for employment with a park district has been adjudicated as committing specified offenses. Amends the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. In provisions concerning the confidentiality of the law enforcement records of minors, provides that the president of a park district may have access to specified records of a minor who is applying for employment with the park district. Effective immediately.

We strongly OPPOSE HB 4643 because it limits youths’ opportunities for a productive future.

What This Bill Does:
HB 4643 requires criminal background checks for minors seeking employment with a park district, prohibits a minor’s employment if he or she has been adjudicated delinquent of certain offenses, and grants access to confidential juvenile court records to park district officials.

Why This Bill is Harmful:
1. The bill creates an unfunded mandate. By expanding the criminal background check requirement to include minors seeking employment with park districts without providing funding to cover the expense of conducting and processing these background checks, local municipalities will be forced to shoulder this additional, significant expense.

2. Confidentiality is the cornerstone of the juvenile justice system. By expanding access to confidential juvenile court records, this bill promotes a policy that is contrary to the rehabilitative purposes of the juvenile justice system and unnecessarily limits future opportunities for youth to become productive members of society.

3. The bill fails to ensure the safety of the community. Although proponents of this bill suggest that HB 4643 will ensure added protection for our communities, research indicates that limiting employment opportunities, particularly for youth, increases the likelihood of recidivism.

4. The bill increases the risk of racial disparities. Increasing barriers to employment and expanding access to confidential juvenile records will not only further stigmatize and criminalize youth but will increase the risk of racial disparities in hiring. Punitive legislation such as HB 4643 has consistently been shown to have a disparate impact on youth of color.

Organizations Opposing This Bill Include:
Cabrini Green Legal Aid
Juvenile Justice Initiative
Loyola Civitas ChildLaw Center
Project NIA


Please call or write to the chief sponsor, Darlene Senger, of the bill and tell her that you STRONGLY OPPOSE this bill. We should be increasing opportunities for youth who have been in trouble with the law to have positive and productive futures.

Representative Darlene J. Senger (R)
96th District
Springfield Office:
205A-N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-6507
(217) 782-1275 FAX

District Office:
125 Water Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 219-3090
(630) 219-3091 FAX
DuPage County

You can also e-mail her at sengerstaterep@gmail.com.


One comment

  1. How on earth is a young person who has made a mistake to build a productive and law-abiding life if they are thwarted at every turn? This bill shamelessly does that, by appealing to people’s inherent prejudices and fears.

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