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First Substitute H.B. 215

Representative Stephen G. Handy proposes the following substitute bill:


             1     
PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND CHECKS

             2     
2014 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Stephen G. Handy

             5     
Senate Sponsor: Jerry W. Stevenson

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill amends provisions related to public school employee background checks.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    requires the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the
             13      Department of Public Safety to provide notification to certain entities when a new
             14      entry is made against an employee or volunteer whose fingerprints are held on file
             15      regarding any matters involving an alleged offense against property;
             16          .    removes the time limit related to criminal offenses of the same type that the State
             17      Board of Education may consider when making licensing decisions; and
             18          .    makes technical changes.
             19      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             20          None
             21      Other Special Clauses:
             22          None
             23      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             24      AMENDS:
             25           53A-3-410 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 362


             26           53A-6-401 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 362
             27     
             28      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             29          Section 1. Section 53A-3-410 is amended to read:
             30           53A-3-410. Criminal background checks on school personnel -- Notice -- Payment
             31      of costs -- Request for review.
             32          (1) As used in this section:
             33          (a) "Administrator" means an administrator at a school district, charter school, or
             34      private school that requests the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the
             35      Department of Public Safety to conduct a criminal background check on an applicant or
             36      employee.
             37          (b) "Applicant" means a person under consideration for:
             38          (i) an offer of employment at a school district, charter school, or private school; or
             39          (ii) appointment as a volunteer for a school district, charter school, or private school
             40      who will be given significant unsupervised access to a student in connection with the
             41      volunteer's assignment.
             42          (c) "Contract employee" means an employee of a staffing service who works at a
             43      public or private school under a contract between the staffing service and a school district,
             44      charter school, or private school.
             45          (d) "Division" means the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of
             46      the Department of Public Safety established in Section 53-10-103 .
             47          (2) A school district superintendent, the superintendent's designee, or the chief
             48      administrative officer of a charter school:
             49          (a) shall require an applicant to submit to a criminal background check as a condition
             50      for employment or appointment;
             51          (b) shall require an employee to periodically submit to a criminal background check in
             52      accordance with rules of the State Board of Education or policies of the local school board or
             53      charter school governing board; and
             54          (c) where reasonable cause exists, may require an existing employee or volunteer to
             55      submit to a criminal background check.
             56          (3) The chief administrative officer of a private school may require, and the chief


             57      administrative officer of a private school that enrolls scholarship students under Chapter 1a,
             58      Part 7, Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs Act, shall require:
             59          (a) an applicant to submit to a criminal background check as a condition for
             60      employment or appointment; and
             61          (b) where reasonable cause exists, an existing employee or volunteer to submit to a
             62      criminal background check.
             63          (4) [An] A school district, charter school, or private school shall notify an applicant,
             64      volunteer, or employee [shall receive written notice], in writing, that a criminal background
             65      check has been requested.
             66          (5) (a) (i) Fingerprints of the applicant, volunteer, or employee shall be taken, and the
             67      [Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Safety,
             68      established in Section 53-10-103 ,] division shall release the applicant's, volunteer's, or
             69      employee's full criminal history record to the administrator requesting the information.
             70          (ii) The division shall maintain a separate file of fingerprints submitted under
             71      Subsection (5)(a)(i) and notify the administrator when a new entry is made against an employee
             72      or volunteer whose fingerprints are held in the file regarding:
             73          (A) any matters involving an alleged sexual offense;
             74          (B) any matters involving an alleged drug-related offense;
             75          (C) any matters involving an alleged alcohol-related offense; [or]
             76          (D) any matters involving an alleged offense against the person under Title 76, Chapter
             77      5, Offenses Against the Person[.]; or
             78          (E) any matters involving an alleged offense against property under Title 76, Chapter 6,
             79      Offenses Against Property.
             80          (iii) The [cost of maintaining the separate file shall be paid by the] school district,
             81      charter school, or private school [from fees charged to those submitting fingerprints] shall pay
             82      the cost of maintaining the separate file.
             83          (b) Information received by the division from entities other than agencies or political
             84      subdivisions of the state may not be released to a private school unless the release is
             85      permissible under applicable laws or regulations of the entity providing the information.
             86          (6) The superintendent, local school board, or their counterparts at a charter school or
             87      private school shall consider only those convictions, pleas in abeyance, or arrests which are


             88      job-related for the employee, applicant, or volunteer.
             89          (7) (a) A school district, charter school, or private school may require an applicant to
             90      pay the costs of a background check as a condition for consideration for employment or
             91      appointment, if the applicant:
             92          (i) has passed an initial review; and
             93          (ii) is one of a pool of no more than five candidates for a position.
             94          (b) A school district or charter school may require an employee to pay the cost of a
             95      periodic criminal background check required pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education
             96      or policies of the local school board or charter school governing board.
             97          (8) The [Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division] division shall, upon
             98      request, seek additional information from regional or national criminal data files in responding
             99      to inquiries under this section.
             100          (9) (a) An applicant, volunteer, or employee shall have an opportunity to respond to
             101      any information received as a result of a criminal background check.
             102          (b) [A public agency] The division, a school district, charter school, or private school
             103      shall resolve any request for review by an applicant, volunteer, or employee through
             104      administrative procedures established by the [agency] division, a school district, charter school,
             105      or private school.
             106          (10) (a) If [a person] an individual is denied employment or is dismissed from
             107      employment because of information obtained through a criminal background check, the
             108      [person] individual shall receive written notice of the reasons for denial or dismissal and have
             109      an opportunity to respond to the reasons.
             110          (b) A school district or charter school shall resolve any request for a review of a denial
             111      of, or dismissal from, employment through administrative procedures established by the school
             112      district or charter school.
             113          (11) Information obtained under this part is confidential and may only be disclosed as
             114      provided in this section.
             115          (12) (a) A school district, charter school, or private school that enrolls scholarship
             116      students under Chapter 1a, Part 7, Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs
             117      Act, may contract with a staffing service to provide a contract employee if:
             118          (i) the school district, charter school, or private school requests the [Criminal


             119      Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Safety] division to
             120      conduct a criminal background check on the contract employee that is placed at the school
             121      district, charter school, or private school;
             122          (ii) fingerprints of the contract employee are submitted to the division;
             123          (iii) the division releases the contract employee's full criminal history record to the
             124      school district, charter school, or private school requesting the criminal background check; and
             125          (iv) the school district, charter school, or private school requesting the criminal
             126      background check determines whether the contract employee is suitable for employment based
             127      on the standard established in Subsection (6).
             128          (b) The division shall maintain a separate file of fingerprints submitted under
             129      Subsection (12)(a) and notify the administrator when a new entry is made against a contract
             130      employee whose fingerprints are held in the file regarding a matter listed in Subsection
             131      (5)(a)(ii).
             132          (c) A school district, charter school, or private school may require a contract employee
             133      to pay the costs of a criminal background check, including the costs of the division to maintain
             134      the file required under Subsection (12)(b).
             135          (d) (i) A contract employee who applies for a license issued by the State Board of
             136      Education shall submit to a criminal background check as provided in Section 53A-6-401 .
             137          (ii) A contract employee who works at a public school and does not hold a license
             138      issued by the State Board of Education shall submit to a criminal background check every six
             139      years, or within a shorter period, if required by rules of the State Board of Education or policies
             140      of a local school board or charter school governing board.
             141          Section 2. Section 53A-6-401 is amended to read:
             142           53A-6-401. Background checks.
             143          (1) (a) A license applicant shall submit to a background check as a condition for
             144      licensing.
             145          (b) As used in this section, licensing includes reinstatement of a lapsed, suspended, or
             146      revoked license.
             147          (2) Where reasonable cause exists, the State Board of Education may require an
             148      educator to submit to a criminal background check.
             149          (3) (a) The office shall establish a procedure for obtaining and evaluating relevant


             150      information concerning license applicants, including fingerprinting the applicant and
             151      submitting the prints to the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the
             152      Department of Public Safety for checking against applicable state, regional, and national
             153      criminal records files.
             154          (b) The Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division shall release to the
             155      office all information received in response to the office's request.
             156          (c) The Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division shall maintain a
             157      separate file of fingerprints submitted under Subsection (3)(a) and notify the office when a new
             158      entry is made against a person whose fingerprints are held in the file regarding any matters
             159      involving an alleged:
             160          (i) sexual offense;
             161          (ii) drug-related offense;
             162          (iii) alcohol-related offense; [or]
             163          (iv) offense against the person under Title 76, Chapter 5, Offenses Against the
             164      Person[.]; or
             165          (v) offense against property under Title 76, Chapter 6, Offenses Against Property.
             166          (d) The cost of maintaining the separate file shall be paid by the office from fees
             167      charged to those submitting fingerprints.
             168          (4) [An] A license applicant or educator shall have an opportunity to respond to any
             169      information received by the office as a result of the background check.
             170          (5) In preparing recommendations concerning licensing for submission to the board,
             171      the office shall consider only the following matters obtained through fingerprint checks to the
             172      extent that they are relevant to the license sought by the license applicant or held by the
             173      educator:
             174          (a) convictions, including pleas in abeyance;
             175          (b) any matters involving an alleged sexual offense;
             176          (c) any matters involving an alleged felony or class A misdemeanor drug offense;
             177          (d) any matters involving an alleged offense against the person under Title 76, Chapter
             178      5, Offenses Against the Person;
             179          (e) any matters involving a felony;
             180          (f) any matters involving a class A misdemeanor property offense alleged to have


             181      occurred within the previous three years; and
             182          (g) any matters involving any other type of criminal offense, if more than one
             183      occurrence of the same type of offense is alleged to have taken place [within the previous eight
             184      years].
             185          (6) If a recommendation is made for denial, suspension, or revocation of licensure
             186      because of information obtained through a background check, the person shall receive written
             187      notice of the reasons for the recommendation and have an opportunity to respond in accordance
             188      with procedures set forth under board rules.
             189          (7) Information obtained under this section is confidential and may only be disclosed as
             190      provided in this part.
             191          (8) The license applicant shall pay the costs of conducting the background check
             192      required pursuant to Subsection (1).
             193          (9) This section applies to matters occurring both before and after the effective date of
             194      this section.


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