An act relating to expanding employer access to applicants’ criminal records.
The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 1. 20 V.S.A. § 2056b(a) is amended to read:
(a) The Vermont criminal information center may provide Vermont criminal history records as defined in section 2056a of this title to bona fide persons conducting research related to the administration of criminal justice, subject to conditions approved by the commissioner of public safety to assure the confidentiality of the information and the privacy of individuals to whom the information relates.
Sec. 2. 20 V.S.A. § 2056c is amended to read:
§ 2056c. DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS TO
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Applicant” means an
individual seeking or being sought for employment
or, a volunteer
position with an employer, or admission to a course of instruction offered
by the Vermont criminal justice training council.
(2) “Criminal conviction
record” means the record of convictions
and convictions in other jurisdictions.
(3) “Employer” means any
individual, organization, or governmental body, including partnership,
association, trustee, estate, corporation, joint stock company, insurance
company, or legal representative, whether domestic or foreign, or the receiver,
trustee in bankruptcy, trustee or successor thereof, and any common carrier by
mail, motor, water, air, or express company
doing business in or
operating within this state, which has one or more individuals performing
services for it within this state; and (A) the employer is a
qualified entity that provides care or services to vulnerable classes as
provided in 42 U.S.C. §§ 5119a and 5119c; or (B) the employer is a
postsecondary school with student residential facilities or an authorized agent.
(4) “The center” means the Vermont
crime criminal information center. (5) “Vulnerable classes”
means children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities as defined in 42
U.S.C. § 5119c.
(b)(1) An employer may
obtain from the center a
Vermont criminal conviction record and
an out-of-state criminal record for any applicant who has given written
authorization on a release form provided by the center, provided that the
employer has filed a user’s agreement with the center. The user’s agreement
shall require the employer to comply with all statutes, rules, and
policies regulating the release of criminal conviction records and the
protection of individual privacy. The user’s agreement shall be signed and
kept current by the employer.
(2) An individual, organization, or governmental body doing business in Vermont which has one or more individuals performing services for it within this state and which is a qualified entity that provides care or services to children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5119c may obtain from the center an out-of-state criminal conviction record for any applicant who has given written authorization on a release form provided by the center, provided that the employer has filed a user’s agreement with the center and complies with all other provisions of this section.
(c)(1) The employer
the a criminal conviction record only:
(A) after the applicant has been given an
offer of employment conditioned on the record check
(B) after a volunteer has been offered a position conditioned on the record check.
(2) The Vermont criminal justice training council may obtain a criminal conviction record only after an applicant has been accepted into a course of instruction offered by the Vermont criminal justice training council conditioned on the record check.
(3) An organization that receives a criminal conviction record pursuant to this section shall provide a free copy of such record to the record subject within ten days of receipt of the record.
(4) An organization entitled to receive a criminal conviction record pursuant to this section shall not require an applicant to obtain or submit personally a copy of his or her criminal conviction record for purposes of employment or acceptance into a course offered by the Vermont criminal justice training council.
school employers may obtain criminal records only for applicants who apply for
employment or volunteer positions that provide access to student residential
facilities. Employers shall be provided with informational material by
the center prior to authorization to request criminal conviction records. The
materials shall address the following topics:
(A) Requirements of the user agreement.
(B) How to obtain criminal conviction records from the center.
(C) How to interpret criminal conviction records.
(D) How to obtain source documents summarized in the criminal conviction records.
(E) Misuse of criminal conviction records.
(2) Employers shall certify on the user agreement that they have read and understood the materials prior to receiving authorization to request records from the center.
(e) The release form shall contain the applicant’s name, signature, date of birth, place of birth, and the signature as attested to by a notary public. The release form shall state that the applicant has the right to appeal the findings to the center, pursuant to rules adopted by the commissioner of public safety.
No (1) Except
as otherwise authorized by this chapter, no person shall confirm the
existence or nonexistence of criminal conviction record information to
any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to
this subchapter or disclose
the contents of a criminal conviction record without the record subject’s
permission to any person other than the applicant and properly designated
employees of the employer who have a documented need to know the contents of
(2) An employer who receives criminal conviction records pursuant to this section shall maintain a confidential log of all record requests as specified by the center. The employer shall confidentially retain records relating to requests for criminal conviction records for a period of three years. At the end of the retention period, if logs and records are to be destroyed, they shall be shredded.
(g) A person who violates
provisions of this section with respect to unauthorized disclosure of
confidential criminal history record information obtained from the center under
the authority subsection (f) of this section shall be fined assessed
a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.00. Each unauthorized disclosure
shall constitute a separate civil violation. The office of the attorney
general shall have authority to enforce this section.
(h) The center shall provide
notice of the penalty for unauthorized disclosure on a form accompanying any
report of a criminal conviction record to an employer. The notice shall
include, in boldface print, the following statements: THE REQUESTOR AGREES TO
USE CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORD INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE VERMONT
CRIME CRIMINAL INFORMATION CENTER FOR THE PURPOSES
INTENDED BY LAW. THE REQUESTOR AGREES NOT TO DISCLOSE THE CONTENTS OF ANY
CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORD INFORMATION WITHOUT THE APPLICANT’S
PERMISSION TO ANY PERSON OTHER THAN THE APPLICANT AND PROPERLY DESIGNATED
EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE A DOCUMENTED NEED TO KNOW THE CONTENTS OF THE RECORD. A
VIOLATION MAY RESULT IN A FINE CIVIL PENALTY OF UP TO $5,000.00.
EACH UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE CIVIL VIOLATION.
(i) Nothing in this section shall create a statutory duty for an employer to perform a criminal conviction record check on every job applicant hired by the employer. An employer’s failure to obtain a criminal conviction record on an employee who subsequently commits a criminal offense shall not be the sole factor in determining civil or criminal liability unless otherwise authorized by law.
Sec. 3. 20 V.S.A. § 2056d(a) is amended to read:
(a) Statewide criminal history records shall be released only by the Vermont criminal information center.
Sec. 4. 20 V.S.A. § 2056f is added to read:
§ 2056f. DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS AND
CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS RECORDS TO AN INDIVIDUAL
A person may obtain a copy of his or her own criminal history record as defined in section 2056a of this title or criminal conviction record as defined in section 2056c of this title or a statement that no record exists from the Vermont criminal information center. Copies of a person’s criminal history record and criminal conviction record may be obtained by making a personal appearance at the center during regular business hours or by written request. Written requests shall be on a form specified by the center and shall contain the person’s name, date of birth, place of birth, and signature as attested to by a notary public. A raised seal must be affixed to the form.
Sec. 5. 20 V.S.A. § 2063 is amended to read:
§ 2063. CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD FEES; CRIMINAL HISTORY
RECORD CHECK FUND
(a) Except as otherwise
provided for in this section, the cost of each check for a criminal
check record as defined in section 2056a of this title or a
criminal conviction record as defined in section 2056c of this title based
on name and date of birth shall be $10.00. Out-of-state criminal history
record checks shall include any additional fees charged by the state from which
the record is requested.
(b) Requests made by criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes or other purposes authorized by state or federal law shall be exempt from all record check fees. The following types of requests shall be exempt from the Vermont criminal record check fee:
(1) Requests made by
agencies or entities regulated by governmental agencies in accordance with
local, state or federal law or regulation which requires a criminal record
check for employment or licensing any individual, organization, or
governmental body doing business in Vermont which has one or more individuals
performing services for it within this state and which is a qualified entity
that provides care or services to children, the elderly, or persons with
disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5119c.
(2) Requests made by researchers approved by the Vermont criminal information center to conduct research related to the administration of criminal justice. A fee, however, may be charged by the center which shall reflect the cost of generating the requested information.
(3) Requests made by individuals to review their own record at the Vermont criminal information center; however, copies of the individual’s record are not exempt from the record check fee.
(c) The criminal history
record check fund is established and shall be managed by the commissioner of
public safety in accordance with the provisions of
Title 32, chapter 7,
subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32. All fees paid under this section
shall be placed in the fund and used for personnel and equipment related to the
processing, maintenance, and dissemination of criminal history records.
The commissioner of finance and management may draw warrants for disbursements
from this fund in anticipation of receipts.
(d) The department of public safety shall have the authority, with the approval of the secretary of administration, to establish limited service positions as are necessary to provide criminal record checks in a timely manner, provided that there are sufficient funds in the criminal history record check fund to pay for the costs of these positions.
Sec. 6. DATA COLLECTION
The Vermont criminal information center shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on or before January 15, 2007 on the following:
(1) All individuals, organizations, or governmental bodies entitled to obtain criminal record information from the center and the legal authority for such access.
(2) The record information that is released to those identified by subdivision (1) of this section.
(3) The number of record requests by a group of requestors.
(4) The number of record requests without release forms.
(5) An assessment of the cost of the criminal record check program compared to the revenues generated from record requests.
(6) Any additional data that will assist the committees in engaging in a comprehensive review of access to statewide criminal record information.
Sec. 7. REPORT
(a) There is established an access to criminal history record information committee for the purpose of making findings and recommendations regarding public access to statewide criminal history records from the Vermont crime information center and the dissemination of electronic criminal case record information by the court. The committee shall consider what information should be released, by what method and to whom, in a manner that is consistent, reliable, and sensitive to privacy issues.
(b) The committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) A judge or justice appointed by the chief justice of the Vermont supreme court.
(2) The director of the Vermont crime information center.
(3) The executive director of the Vermont bar association or his or her designee.
(4) The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
(5) Two former legislators appointed jointly by the speaker of the house and the senate committee on committees.
(c) The judge or justice shall be the chair of the committee.
(d) The Vermont crime information center and the judiciary shall provide the committee with information and assistance necessary to accomplish its charge.
(e) Former legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses in the same manner as current legislative members in accordance with 2 V.S.A. § 406.
(f) The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the house and senate committees on judiciary on or before January 15, 2007.
Sec. 8. DISSEMINATION OF ELECTRONIC CASE RECORDS
The judiciary shall not permit public access via the internet to criminal case records or family court case records prior to June 1, 2007. The court may permit criminal justice agencies, as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a, internet access to criminal case records for criminal justice purposes, as defined in section 2056a.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street