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SPRINGFIELD - With just days left before Valentine's Day, people might turn to the Internet for a date.

On Wednesday, a House panel approved legislation aimed at protecting online dating service users from people on the other side of the computer.

"I was shocked to find out these online dating services provide no kind of background checks, so sex offenders, someone on death row, a felon with identity theft, someone who is a fraud can simply get on there and take advantage of people who are using this service," said state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, during a House committee meeting.

Bradley's legislation would require dating service providers with customers in Illinois to disclose on their Web sites whether they perform background checks on their customers. If the service does do background checks, it must post safety notices alerting users of criminal backgrounds.

Bradley said the legislation would not apply to chat rooms.

"It applies to services that are charging 30 dollars a month or whatever it is to go on and find true love," he said.

Service providers who violate the act would face a $1,000 fine per violation.

"I don't have anything against online dating," Bradley said. "A lot of people enjoy it, so let's make something that's good even better."

The committee unanimously recommended the measure to the full House for its consideration.

The proposal is House Bill 5299.


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