CASIA sketches criminal background check legislation

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Friday, July 1, 2005

HARTFORD, Conn.--The Connecticut Alarm & Systems Integrators Association legislation committee and its lobbyist will meet throughout the summer to craft a criminal background check guideline that could be considered for the next state legislation session.
The committee will examine the language of pending criminal background check bills and use that as guidance to develop a proposal that better represents the security industry here.
Previous bills introduced in sessions haven't presented the full picture of what the state's security industry would like to see, noted John Yusza, state legislation committee chairman for CASIA.
"There are many pieces to this puzzle," Yusza said.
According to Yusza, when a bill of this nature is introduced, other sectors seeking criminal background checks are written into the bill and typically just one sector is prioritized. So, the language is vague for the remaining sectors.
Not having a state industry bill increases concern for the association, because it is an industry that deals a lot with the public trust, Yusza added.
For example, "if I have a technician go to my home, and do an installation, should that person be background checked? But, what about employees in alarm company offices, were there are information about customers, including credit card data, code numbers and social security numbers?" asked Yusza.
These questions propelled the association and its lobbyist to determine if statewide background checks should be mandated for all workers in the industry or only a portion of the sector.
The committee will review other state's bills and brainstorm during the summer on what will meet the industry's needs.
"A balance needs to be made to protect customer information and operate effectively," said Elizabeth Gara, an attorney at Elizabeth Gara & Associates, who works with CASIA as its lobbyist. Currently, security companies can run background checks at their discretion, however, at the state level there is no law that mandates criminal background checks, said Gara.
But, by tailoring a bill to the security industry, it has the potential to be passed in session, Yusza added.
"We will see what we need to do to make it workable," he said.