(April 29) – A bill by Rep. Jonathan Singer that would inform parents if their children’s coaches have not gone through background checks passed the House this morning on a 38-27 vote.
HB16-1443 requires a youth organization to notify parents of their background check policies for coaches and volunteers. It does not require the organizations to run background checks, but allows parents to make informed decisions. A bill to require background checks failed in the Republican-controlled Senate last year.
“This bill takes a step to address whether or not the coaches we trust our kids with are actually predators,” said Rep. Singer. “Child molesters and sex abusers don’t have stamps on their foreheads. The strongest measure to protect our kids is a simple background check.”
Rep. Singer also pointed out that predators often seek out organizations that don’t conduct background checks and many states have more onerous laws. Parents often feel safe to assume that their child’s organization runs background checks on coaches, but when that is not the case, it is ultimately the child who pays the price.
An estimated 15,000 convicted sex offenders currently coach kids in out-of-school sports, according to Kansas State University. Background checks are required for coaches hired by schools.
The bill proceeds to the Senate.