SPRINGFIELD -- The government can't do much to prevent an awkward date, but a new state law signed Friday could help protect online daters from predators and felons.
Gov. Pat Quinn Friday signed legislation sponsored by state Rep. Michelle Mussman, a Schaumburg Democrat, intended to provide those protections.
"I think lots of people have stories about themselves or friends getting into trouble on the Internet," Mussman said.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, forces Internet dating sites to let users know whether they do criminal background checks on their members.
And if the site does background checks but lets users with criminal convictions continue to participate, it must report that the checks aren't "foolproof."
"With online dating becoming increasingly popular in the 21st century, it is important to make sure its participants are safe and aware of potential risks," Quinn said in a statement.
Lawmakers approved the plan earlier in the year. Mussman picked it up in the Illinois House after the Senate originally came up with the proposal.
Quinn also signed legislation commonly referred to the "sip and spit" plan. It allows culinary students between ages 18 and 21 to sip and taste -- but not swallow -- alcoholic drinks as part of their classes.