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June 27, 2002

Governor Ryan Signs Bill Allowing 12 &13 Year Olds to Officiate Youth Athletic Events

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed House Bill 5996 that allows 12 & 13 year olds to umpire and referee sporting events provided certain restrictions are met.

“This law will let 12 & 13 year olds earn a few dollars working as referees and umpires, while at the same time providing supervisory requirements to protect them,” Governor Ryan said. “It also helps out park districts, youth athletic associations and city recreation departments who often struggle to find people to officiate.”

House Bill 5996 makes a change to the Child Labor Law that allows a not-for-profit youth club, park district, municipal park or recreation department to hire 12 & 13 year olds to officiate youth athletic events providing the following criteria are met:

  • A parent or guardian of the officiating minor must be present while the minor is officiating.
  • The employer must obtain an employment certificate for the minor from the local high school or school district.
  • The minor is limited to 3 hours of work per day on school days and 4 hours of work on non-school days.
  • The minor may not officiate more than 10 hours per week and may not work past 9PM.
  • The officiating minor must be at least 3 years older than the youths participating in the sporting event or someone at least 16 years of age must be officiating the same event.

House Bill 5996 passed overwhelmingly in both houses and becomes effective immediately.

House sponsors of the law were Rep. Eileen Lyons (R-Western Springs), Rep. Patricia Bellock (R-Hinsdale), Rep. Patricia Lindner (R-Aurora), Rep. Randall Hultgren (R-Wheaton) and Rep. Sidney Mathias (R-Buffalo Grove).

Sponsors of House Bill 5996 in the Senate included Sen. Christine Radogno (R-La Grange), Sen. Kathleen Parker (R-Northbrook), Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora), Sen. Thomas Walsh (R-LaGrange Park) and Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale).


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