Background check legislation filed

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04/09/2009
The NBFAA announced today that Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has filed legislation on its behalf that would allow fire and security companies to access to background checks before hiring personnel.
H.R. 1939, the “Electronic Life Safety and Security System Federal Background Check Act of 2009,” permits industry access to a database which can be used to check a potential employee’s criminal history. Congress has authorized similar access in the past to groups such as banks, credit unions and private security guards. “It is outrageous that a potential felon could have access to our citizens’ homes and businesses without the employer knowing his or her record, and that is why this legislation is so important,” Luetkemeyer said. “It would be irresponsible to allow this to continue because it puts those families and businesses who think they are being protected at risk.” States are not currently able to stay apprised of crimes committed from one state to another, and many private background check services do not capture complete law enforcement information upon which to base a hiring judgment. Some states have no background check requirements for this industry. The legislation is not a government mandate, but simply offers the electronic life safety and security industry access to the same background information that is currently available to many other groups. Americans do not want a person with a questionable criminal background installing systems designed to keep them safe in facilities such as child daycare centers, schools, public pools, chemical plants, water and nuclear facilities, banks, hospitals, port facilities and air terminals. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this commonsense legislation to keep our families, businesses, and critical infrastructure safe,” Luetkemeyer said. Once the legislation is passed, the industry will need to secure support from the Attorney General to permit states to access the database. The bill also recommends certain standards for the Attorney General and Department of Justice for those states wishing to participate, including a reciprocity requirement and NBFAA’s involvement as part of the background check process. The bill will require significant support to pass both the House and Senate, as other groups are requesting background check access, creating a long delay in accommodating non-law enforcement organizations such as NBFAA. With the help of the security industry, NBFAA will work on securing a senate bill and seek to pass the legislation.