Introduced by Representatives Grad of Moretown and Gervais of Enosburg
Subject: Internal security and public safety; Vermont criminal information center; dissemination of criminal history records to employers
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to establish a procedure whereby an employer could obtain the criminal history record of a prospective employee or volunteer; permit an individual to obtain a copy of his or her own criminal history record; and waive the fee for criminal history records requested by a qualified organization that provides care or services to children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities.
AN ACT RELATING TO DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS TO EMPLOYERS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 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 an individual seeking admission to a course of instruction offered by the Vermont criminal justice training council.
(2) “Criminal record” means the record of convictions in Vermont and convictions in other jurisdictions. No criminal record of convictions shall be reported if the subject has had no convictions for 10 years after the date the subject was released from supervision.
“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.
(4) “The center” means the Vermont crime information center.
“Vulnerable classes” means children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities
as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5119c.
(b) An employer may obtain from the center a Vermont criminal 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 records and the protection of individual privacy. The user’s agreement shall be signed and kept current by the employer.
(c) The employer may obtain the criminal record only after the applicant has been given an offer of employment conditioned on the record check or after a volunteer has been offered a position conditioned on the record check.
Postsecondary 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 complete a
criminal history training program conducted by the center prior to
authorization to obtain criminal history records from the center. The
training program shall address the following topics:
(1) Requirements of the user agreement;
(2) How to obtain criminal history records from the center;
(3) How to interpret criminal history records;
(4) How to obtain source documents summarized in the criminal history records; and
(5) Misuse of criminal history records.
(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.
(f) No person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal record information to any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to this subchapter.
(g) A person who violates the provisions of this section with respect to unauthorized disclosure of confidential criminal history record information obtained from the center under the authority of this section shall be fined not more than $5,000.00. Each unauthorized disclosure shall constitute a separate civil violation.
(h) The center shall provide notice of the penalty for unauthorized disclosure on a form accompanying any report of a criminal record to an employer. The notice shall include, in boldface print, the following statements:
THE REQUESTOR AGREES TO USE CRIMINAL RECORD INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE VERMONT CRIME INFORMATION CENTER FOR THE PURPOSES INTENDED BY LAW. THE REQUESTOR AGREES NOT TO DISCLOSE THE CONTENTS OF ANY CRIMINAL 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 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 record check on every job applicant hired by the employer. An employer’s failure to obtain a criminal 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.
(j) An employer shall not require an applicant to personally obtain or submit a copy of his or her criminal record for purposes of employment.
Sec. 2. 20 V.S.A. § 2056f is added to read:
§ 2056f. DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS TO AN
A person may obtain his or her criminal history record, as defined in sections 2056a and 2056c of this title, from the Vermont crime information center.
Sec. 3. 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 criminal history check 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:
Requests made by
governmental 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 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.
The criminal history record check fund is established and shall be managed by
the commissioner of public safety in accordance with the provisions of
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.
The Vermont General Assembly
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