Download this document in MS Word format
BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

AutoFill Template

H.340

Introduced by Representative Grad of Moretown

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Internal security and public safety; Vermont criminal information center; access to conviction records

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to permit, for any purpose, public access to criminal conviction records maintained by the Vermont criminal information center.  The bill also permits individuals and organizations that work with vulnerable classes to obtain through the center out-of-state criminal conviction records on any applicant, employee, or volunteer.

AN ACT RELATING TO EXPANDING PUBLIC ACCESS TO CRIMINAL RECORDS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  20 V.S.A. § 2056b is amended to read:

§ 2056b.  DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS TO

                PERSONS CONDUCTING RESEARCH

(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.  Bulk criminal history data may only be provided in a format that excludes the subject’s name and any unique numbers that may reference the identity of the subject, except that the state identification number may be provided.  Researchers must sign a user agreement, which specifies data security requirements and restrictions on use of identifying information.

(b)  No person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal history record information to any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to this subchapter other than the subject and properly designated employees of an organization who have a documented need to know the contents of the record.

(c)  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.

Sec. 2.  REPEAL

20 V.S.A. § 2056c (dissemination of criminal history records to employers) is repealed.


Sec. 3.  20 V.S.A. § 2056f is amended 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. 4.  REPEAL

20 V.S.A. § 2056g (dissemination of criminal history records to licensed private investigators) is repealed.

Sec. 5.  20 V.S.A. § 2056h is added to read:

§ 2056h.  DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORDS TO

                THE PUBLIC

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “The center” means the Vermont criminal information center.

(2)  “Criminal conviction record” means the record of convictions in a Vermont district court.

(b)  A person may obtain from the center a criminal conviction record for any purpose provided that the requestor has completed a user’s agreement with the center.  The user’s agreement shall require the requestor to comply with all statutes, rules, and policies regulating the release of criminal conviction records and the protection of individual privacy.

(c)  Criminal conviction records shall be disseminated to the public by the center under the following conditions:

(1)  Public access to criminal conviction records shall be provided by a secure internet site or other alternatives approved by the center. 

(2)  A requestor who wishes to receive criminal conviction records from the center shall accept the terms of a user agreement with the center.  The user agreement shall specify the conditions under which record information is being released and specify guidelines for the proper interpretation and use of the information.

(3)  Prior to receiving criminal conviction records using the center’s internet site a requestor shall establish a secure, on-line account with the center.  Issuance of the account is conditioned upon the requestor’s willingness to accept the terms of a user agreement with the center which specifies the conditions under which record information is being released and specifies guidelines for the proper interpretation and use of the information.

(4)  All queries shall be by name and date of birth of the subject.

(5)  Only no record responses and record responses which constitute an exact match to the query criteria shall be returned online.  In the event that query criteria suggest a possible match, center staff will determine whether the query criteria match a record in the repository and shall return the result to the requestor.

(6)  An electronic log shall be kept of all transactions that shall indicate the name of the requestor, the date of the request, the purpose of the request, and the result of the request.  This log shall not be available to the general public.  However, any person who believes that he or she has been the subject of a criminal record check may have access to the relevant portion of the log.

(7)  The center’s internet site shall provide a mechanism for users to notify electronically the center of possible record errors.

(8)  The center’s internet site shall provide links to center training information regarding best practices for the use of record checks as part of a complete background check process.

(9)  The center shall be authorized to charge a fee for each criminal record check query pursuant to statute.

(10)  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.

(11)  No person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal history record information to any person other than the subject and properly designated employees of an organization who have a documented need to know the contents of the record.

(12)  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.

(13)  The center shall provide notice of the penalty for unauthorized disclosure at the end of any report of a criminal conviction record.  The notice shall include, in boldface print, the following statements:

THE REQUESTOR AGREES TO USE CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORD INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE VERMONT CRIMINAL INFORMATION CENTER FOR THE PURPOSES INTENDED BY LAW.  NO PERSON SHALL CONFIRM THE EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE OF CRIMINAL HISTORY INFORMATION TO ANY PERSON OTHER THAN THE SUBJECT OF THE RECORD AND PROPERLY DESIGNATED EMPLOYEES OF AN ORGANIZATION WHO HAVE A DOCUMENTED NEED TO KNOW THE CONTENTS OF THE RECORD.  A VIOLATION MAY RESULT IN A CIVIL PENALTY OF UP TO $5,000.00.  EACH UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE CIVIL VIOLATION.

Sec. 6.  20 V.S.A. § 2056i is added to read:

§ 2056i.  DISSEMINATION OF OUT-OF-STATE-CRIMINAL

               CONVICTION RECORDS TO QUALIFIED ENTITIES

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “The center” means the Vermont criminal information center.

(2)  “Out-of-state criminal conviction record” means the record of convictions in jurisdictions other than Vermont.

(3)  “Qualified entity” means 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.

(b)  A qualified entity may obtain from the center an out-of-state criminal conviction record for any applicant, employee, or volunteer, provided that the qualified entity has filed a user’s agreement with the center.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us