New background screening for high-risk jobs

Historic City News reporters learned that today, Governor Charlie Crist applauded the Legislature for passing House Bill 7069; requiring background screening procedures for individuals who work with vulnerable Floridians such as children, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Governor Crist thanked Senators Ronda Storms, Nan Rich and Victor Crist and Representatives Ari Porth and Bill Snyder for their leadership in getting the legislation unanimously passed in both chambers.

“This good legislation ensures that Florida takes another important measure in protecting the most vulnerable among us,” said Governor Crist. “Thoroughly screening the backgrounds of those who work with children, elders, persons with disabilities – and then verifying those screening results before employees are authorized to go to work – will no doubt improve overall public safety in the Sunshine State.”

This bill will require employees to pass both a state and federal fingerprint check, equivalent to a level 2 background check, before beginning work with such children or elderly. The bill also requires that fingerprints be submitted in an electronic format to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by July 1, 2012, allowing regulatory agencies to retain prints and receive continuous arrest notifications from state and federal law enforcement entities. Additionally, the bill gives select executive agency heads the authority to revoke and deny exemptions from certain disqualifying offenses, except when an individual has been designated as a sexual predator, sexual offender or career offender.

In October 2009, Governor Crist convened select state agencies charged with reviewing legal requirements for screening individuals who provide care to children, the elderly and persons with disabilities to review current background-screening policies. The group’s findings were presented to the Governor in November 2009 and then presented to the legislature for consideration. This bill reflects the recommendations of the group

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