Some Illinois lawmakers want required background checks for umpires and referees

DAVENPORT, Iowa -  There's new legislation being drafted in Illinois that may surprise some parents that it's not already law.

It would require high school umpires or referee's to have background checks.

Rebba Carstens cheers for her son Dalton from the stands.

"I'm probably one of the louder parents for better or for worse usually the kids will tell me that they can hear me," said Carstens.

As a parent she would like to know her kid's safe with all aspects of the games he loves, that includes the people officiating.

In Illinois, umps and refs must report any legal problems in their background, but there's no required background checks to see if they're telling the truth.

"If they`re going to be interacting with the kids it's probably a good idea," said Carstens.

Don Umland has been officiating for 30 years.

"The pools not getting any bigger, but yet the number of opportunities for young athletes to participate continues to grow,"

Umland says adding background checks could shrink that already small pool. While he's not against checking for felonies, he worried how far back these background checks will go and how something minor in the past could rule out qualified people.

"I think if you go into things that are more in the personal life of finance I don`t think that`s an area that needs to go that way, because I don`t see the relevancy of how it dictates their quality of an official," said Umland.

However umpire Bill Horrell says background checks only make sense and should have been a requirement years ago.

"They background check for almost every job now days, officiating is a job," said Horrell

Horrell says parents are putting their trust in them and knowing their backgrounds are clean gives parents like Carstens peace of mind.

"Why take the chance," said Carstens.

The bill is expected to be introduced in the upcoming veto session.

In Iowa there's also no background checks for umpires or referees required for the high school level.