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H.B. 81 Enrolled

             1     

SCHOOL EMPLOYEE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND

             2     
CHECK

             3     
2010 GENERAL SESSION

             4     
STATE OF UTAH

             5     
Chief Sponsor: Sheryl L. Allen

             6     
Senate Sponsor: Margaret Dayton

             7     
             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill modifies provisions regarding criminal background checks for employees of,
             11      or volunteers at, school districts, charter schools, and private schools.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    directs a school district or charter school to require an employee to periodically
             15      submit to a criminal background check in accordance with rules of the State Board
             16      of Education or policies of the local school board or charter school governing
             17      board;
             18          .    provides that a school district, charter school, or private school may require an
             19      applicant or employee to pay for the costs of a criminal background check;
             20          .    allows the State Board of Education to require an educator to submit to a criminal
             21      background check where reasonable cause exists;
             22          .    imposes requirements for criminal background checks of contract employees; and
             23          .    makes technical amendments.
             24      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             25          None
             26      Other Special Clauses:
             27          None
             28      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             29      AMENDS:


             30          53A-3-410, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2005, Chapter 35
             31          53A-6-401, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2000, Chapter 24
             32      REPEALS AND REENACTS:
             33          53A-1a-512.5, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2003, Chapter 199
             34     
             35      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             36          Section 1. Section 53A-1a-512.5 is repealed and reenacted to read:
             37          53A-1a-512.5. Criminal background checks on school personnel.
             38          The following individuals are required to submit to a criminal background check as
             39      provided in Section 53A-3-410 :
             40          (1) an employee of a charter school;
             41          (2) a volunteer for a charter school who is given significant unsupervised access to a
             42      student in connection with the volunteer's assignment; or
             43          (3) a contract employee, as defined in Section 53A-3-410 , who works at a charter
             44      school.
             45          Section 2. Section 53A-3-410 is amended to read:
             46           53A-3-410. Criminal background checks on school personnel -- Notice --
             47      Payment of costs -- Request for review.
             48          (1) As used in this section:
             49          (a) "Administrator" means an administrator at a school district, charter school, or
             50      private school that requests the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the
             51      Department of Public Safety to conduct a criminal background check on an applicant or
             52      employee.
             53          (b) "Applicant" means a person under consideration for:
             54          (i) an offer of employment at a school district, charter school, or private school; or
             55          (ii) appointment as a volunteer for a school district, charter school, or private school
             56      who will be given significant unsupervised access to a student in connection with the
             57      volunteer's assignment.


             58          (c) "Contract employee" means an employee of a staffing service who works at a
             59      public or private school under a contract between the staffing service and a school district,
             60      charter school, or private school.
             61          (d) "Division" means the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of
             62      the Department of Public Safety.
             63          [(1)] (2) A school district superintendent [or], the superintendent's designee, or the
             64      chief administrative officer of a charter school:
             65          (a) shall require [a potential employee or a volunteer who will be given significant
             66      unsupervised access to a student in connection with the volunteer's assignment] an applicant
             67      to submit to a criminal background check as a condition for employment or appointment;
             68      [and]
             69          (b) shall require an employee to periodically submit to a criminal background check in
             70      accordance with rules of the State Board of Education or policies of the local school board or
             71      charter school governing board; and
             72          [(b)] (c) where reasonable cause exists, may require an existing employee or volunteer
             73      to submit to a criminal background check.
             74          [(2)] (3) The chief administrative officer of a private school may require, and the chief
             75      administrative officer of [the] a private school that enrolls scholarship students under Chapter
             76      1a, Part 7, Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs Act, shall require:
             77          (a) [a potential employee or volunteer] an applicant to submit to a criminal
             78      background check as a condition for employment or appointment; and
             79          (b) where reasonable cause exists, an existing employee or volunteer to submit to a
             80      criminal background check.
             81          [(3) The] (4) An applicant, volunteer, or employee shall receive written notice that
             82      [the] a criminal background check has been requested.
             83          [(4)] (5) (a) (i) Fingerprints of the [individual] applicant, volunteer, or employee shall
             84      be taken, and the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department
             85      of Public Safety, established in Section 53-10-103 , shall release the [individual's] applicant's,


             86      volunteer's, or employee's full criminal history record [of criminal convictions] to the
             87      administrator requesting the information.
             88          (ii) The division shall maintain a separate file of fingerprints submitted under
             89      Subsection [(4)] (5)(a)(i) and notify the [State Office of Education] administrator when a new
             90      entry is made against [a person] an employee or volunteer whose fingerprints are held in the
             91      file regarding:
             92          (A) any matters involving an alleged sexual offense;
             93          (B) any matters involving an alleged [felony or class A misdemeanor drug]
             94      drug-related offense; [or]
             95          (C) any matters involving an alleged alcohol-related offense; or
             96          [(C)] (D) any matters involving an alleged offense against the person under Title 76,
             97      Chapter 5, Offenses Against the Person.
             98          (iii) The cost of maintaining the separate file shall be paid by the [State Office of
             99      Education] school district, charter school, or private school from fees charged to those
             100      submitting fingerprints.
             101          (b) Information received by the division from entities other than agencies or political
             102      subdivisions of the state may not be released to a private school unless the release is
             103      permissible under applicable laws or regulations of the entity providing the information.
             104          [(5)] (6) The superintendent, local school board, or their counterparts at a charter
             105      school or private school shall consider only those convictions, pleas in abeyance, or arrests
             106      which are job-related for the employee, applicant, or volunteer.
             107          [(6) (a) The district or private school shall pay the cost of the background check
             108      except as otherwise provided in Subsection (6)(b), and the monies collected shall be credited
             109      to the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division to offset its expenses.]
             110          [(b) The] (7) (a) A school district, charter school, or private school may require an
             111      applicant to pay the costs of a background check as a condition for consideration for
             112      employment or appointment, if[: (i)] the applicant:
             113          [(A)] (i) has passed an initial review; and


             114          [(B)] (ii) is one of a pool of no more than five candidates for a position[; and].
             115          [(C) except as may be otherwise provided by state board rule for an applicant who
             116      submitted to a background check while completing a higher education program at a Utah
             117      institution of higher education, has not been the subject of a criminal background check of
             118      similar scope during the preceding two years that was requested by a potential employer or the
             119      State Board of Education; and]
             120          [(ii) a copy of the background check is provided to the district or school considering
             121      employment or appointment of the applicant.]
             122          (b) A school district or charter school may require an employee to pay the cost of a
             123      periodic criminal background check required pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education
             124      or policies of the local school board or charter school governing board.
             125          [(7)] (8) The Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division shall, upon
             126      request, seek additional information from regional or national criminal data files in responding
             127      to inquiries under this section.
             128          [(8) (a) A private school seeking information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation
             129      or other national criminal data file which the private school may not access directly shall
             130      submit its request to the Teacher Certification Section of the State Board of Education,
             131      together with the required fee and the school's criminal data-related criteria for limiting or
             132      rejecting employment.]
             133          [(b) The section shall submit the request and, upon receiving the requested
             134      information, shall determine whether the subject of the inquiry is entitled to employment
             135      under the school's criteria.]
             136          [(c) The section shall disclose its determination to the school but may not disclose the
             137      data in the national criminal data file.]
             138          (9) (a) [The] An applicant, volunteer, or employee shall have an opportunity to
             139      respond to any information received as a result of [the] a criminal background check.
             140          [(b) A private school applicant, volunteer, or employee who wishes to respond shall:]
             141          [(i) submit a request to the school; and]


             142          [(ii) give a written statement to the Teacher Certification Office authorizing the office
             143      to release the background check information to a hearing officer selected by the individual and
             144      the school.]
             145          [(c) The individual and the school shall equally share any costs incurred under
             146      Subsection (9) (b).]
             147          [(d)] (b) A public agency shall resolve any request for review by an applicant,
             148      volunteer, or employee [seeking employment or employed by the agency] through [normal]
             149      administrative procedures established by the agency.
             150          (10) (a) If a person is denied employment or is dismissed from employment because of
             151      information obtained through a criminal background check, the person shall receive written
             152      notice of the reasons for denial or dismissal and have an opportunity to respond to the reasons
             153      [under the procedures set forth in Subsection (9)].
             154          (b) A school district or charter school shall resolve any request for a review of a denial
             155      of or dismissal from employment through administrative procedures established by the school
             156      district or charter school.
             157          (11) Information obtained under this part is confidential and may only be disclosed as
             158      provided in this section.
             159          (12) (a) A school district, charter school, or private school that enrolls scholarship
             160      students under Chapter 1a, Part 7, Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs
             161      Act, may contract with a staffing service to provide a contract employee if:
             162          (i) the school district, charter school, or private school requests the Criminal
             163      Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Safety to conduct
             164      a criminal background check on the contract employee that is placed at the school district,
             165      charter school, or private school;
             166          (ii) fingerprints of the contract employee are submitted to the division;
             167          (iii) the division releases the contract employee's full criminal history record to the
             168      school district, charter school, or private school requesting the criminal background check;
             169      and


             170          (iv) the school district, charter school, or private school requesting the criminal
             171      background check determines whether the contract employee is suitable for employment based
             172      on the standard established in Subsection (6).
             173          (b) The division shall maintain a separate file of fingerprints submitted under
             174      Subsection (12)(a) and notify the administrator when a new entry is made against a contract
             175      employee whose fingerprints are held in the file regarding a matter listed in Subsection
             176      (5)(a)(ii).
             177          (c) A school district, charter school, or private school may require a contract employee
             178      to pay the costs of a criminal background check, including the costs of the division to
             179      maintain the file required under Subsection (12)(b).
             180          (d) (i) A contract employee who applies for a license issued by the State Board of
             181      Education shall submit to a criminal background check as provided in Section 53A-6-401 .
             182          (ii) A contract employee who works at a public school and does not hold a license
             183      issued by the State Board of Education shall submit to a criminal background check every six
             184      years, or within a shorter period, if required by rules of the State Board of Education or
             185      policies of a local school board or charter school governing board.
             186          Section 3. Section 53A-6-401 is amended to read:
             187           53A-6-401. Background checks.
             188          (1) (a) A license applicant shall submit to a background check as a condition for
             189      licensing.
             190          (b) As used in this section, licensing includes reinstatement of a lapsed, suspended, or
             191      revoked license.
             192          (2) Where reasonable cause exists, the State Board of Education may require an
             193      educator to submit to a criminal background check.
             194          [(2)] (3) (a) The office shall establish a procedure for obtaining and evaluating
             195      relevant information concerning license applicants, including fingerprinting the applicant and
             196      submitting the prints to the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the
             197      Department of Public Safety for checking against applicable state, regional, and national


             198      criminal records files.
             199          (b) The Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division shall release to the
             200      office all information received in response to the office's request.
             201          (c) The Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division shall maintain a
             202      separate file of fingerprints submitted under Subsection [(2)] (3)(a) and notify the office when
             203      a new entry is made against a person whose fingerprints are held in the file regarding any
             204      matters involving an alleged:
             205          (i) sexual offense;
             206          (ii) [felony or class A misdemeanor drug] drug-related offense; [or]
             207          (iii) alcohol-related offense; or
             208          [(iii)] (iv) offense against the person under Title 76, Chapter 5, Offenses Against the
             209      Person.
             210          (d) The cost of maintaining the separate file shall be paid by the office from fees
             211      charged to those submitting fingerprints.
             212          [(3)] (4) An applicant or educator shall have an opportunity to respond to any
             213      information received by the office as a result of the background check.
             214          [(4)] (5) In preparing recommendations concerning licensing for submission to the
             215      board, the office shall consider only the following matters obtained through fingerprint checks
             216      to the extent that they are relevant to the license sought by the applicant or held by the
             217      educator:
             218          (a) convictions, including pleas in abeyance;
             219          (b) any matters involving an alleged sexual offense;
             220          (c) any matters involving an alleged felony or class A misdemeanor drug offense;
             221          (d) any matters involving an alleged offense against the person under Title 76, Chapter
             222      5, Offenses Against the Person;
             223          (e) any matters involving a felony;
             224          (f) any matters involving a class A misdemeanor property offense alleged to have
             225      occurred within the previous three years; and


             226          (g) any matters involving any other type of criminal offense, if more than one
             227      occurrence of the same type of offense is alleged to have taken place within the previous eight
             228      years.
             229          [(5)] (6) If a recommendation is made for denial, suspension, or revocation of
             230      licensure because of information obtained through a background check, the person shall
             231      receive written notice of the reasons for the recommendation and have an opportunity to
             232      respond in accordance with procedures set forth under board rules.
             233          [(6)] (7) Information obtained under this section is confidential and may only be
             234      disclosed as provided in this part.
             235          [(7)] (8) The applicant shall pay the costs of conducting the background check
             236      required pursuant to Subsection (1).
             237          [(8)] (9) This section applies to matters occurring both before and after the effective
             238      date of this section.


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