From Illinois Policy April 2017
Instead of spending time on the budget, politicians crafted a bill that would apply new rules and regulations on trampoline safety that would add thousands of dollars in costs for equipment, travel and overtime for inspections.
Springfield lawmakers are still skirting their constitutional responsibility to pass a balanced budget, and a few of them have instead been focusing their attention somewhere else: trampoline regulation.
State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, introduced House Bill 3897 – the Trampoline Safety Act – in February with cosponsors Laura Fine, D-Glenview, Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook and Robert Martwick Jr., D-Chicago. The bill provides for the adoption of new Department of Labor rules and regulations, including registration and inspection of trampoline courts, as well as requirements for use by patrons. It would also amend the State Finance Act and create a “Trampoline Court Safety Fund.”
Trampoline courts, as defined by HB 3897 are any “commercial facility 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.” This excludes things such as playgrounds operated by a school or local government, inflatable rides and bounce houses, physical rehabilitation and exercise facilities and gymnastic training facilities. But it creates brand new bureaucratic authorities and regulations seemingly without any major demand.
If the bill passes, the Department of Revenue will need to purchase thousands of dollars worth of new inspection equipment and pay travel and overtime for the new required inspections.
Under HB 3897, the director of the Department of Labor “shall adopt and formulate definitions, rules, and regulations for the safe installation, repair, maintenance, use, operation, and inspection of all trampoline courts as the director dins necessary for the protection of the general public using trampoline courts.” This also gives the Department of Labor the ability to establish fees for initial registration or renewal of registration of trampoline courts and deposit those fees in the Trampoline Court Safety Fund. The bill passed out of committee 5-3-1 on partisan lines and could be called for a vote on the House floor.
The legislative priorities of lawmakers – who adjourned April 11 for their spring break without passing a balanced budget – are out of whack. While lawmakers ignore the drivers of Illinois’ financial crisis and the state’s mounting backlog of bills, taxpayers and social service providers continue to suffer. Pay for social service providers remains delayed, while politicians – thanks to their own doing – get paid first. And taxpayers struggling with the nation’s highest tax burden are not being offered many signs of relief.
Instead of focusing on regulating trampolines, lawmakers should jump at the idea of enacting economic reforms that can change the trajectory of the state. 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.
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