SB568 (2018) Detail

Relative to criminal history record checks for school employees and certain volunteers.


SB 568-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2018 SESSION

18-2927

06/04

 

SENATE BILL 568-FN

 

AN ACT relative to criminal history record checks for school employees and certain volunteers.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Reagan, Dist 17; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Kahn, Dist 10; Rep. Ladd, Graf. 4; Rep. Cordelli, Carr. 4

 

COMMITTEE: Education

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill modifies the process of criminal background checks for school employees and designated school volunteers.

 

This bill is a request of the department of education.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18-2927

06/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT relative to criminal history record checks for school employees and certain volunteers.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  School Employee and School Volunteer Criminal History Records Check.  Amend RSA 189:13-a to read as follows:

189:13-a  School Employee and Designated School Volunteer Criminal History Records Check.

I.(a)  The [employing] school administrative unit, school district, [or] chartered public school, or public academy shall complete a criminal history records check on every selected applicant for employment or designated volunteer in any position [in] within the school administrative unit, school district, [or] chartered public school, or public academy prior to a final offer of employment or the acceptance of volunteer services from a designated volunteer.  If a selected applicant for employment has been credentialed within the previous 12 months and had a criminal background check completed pursuant to paragraph II-a, no such background check shall be required for employment by the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy.  [A public academy approved by the New Hampshire state board of education shall submit a criminal history records check on applicants for employment pursuant to this section to the division of state police.]  The superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy may extend a conditional offer of employment to a selected applicant, with a final offer of employment subject to a successfully completed criminal history records check.  No selected applicant may be extended a final offer of employment unless the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy has completed a criminal history records check.  The school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy shall not be held liable in any lawsuit alleging that the extension of a conditional or final offer of employment to an applicant, or the acceptance of volunteer services from a designated volunteer, with a criminal history was in any way negligent or deficient, if the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy fulfilled the requirements of this section.

(b)  A nonpublic school may elect to require a criminal history records check on selected applicants for employment or selected volunteers.  A nonpublic school that elects to conduct a criminal history records check shall comply with the procedures and requirements set forth in this section.  A school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy approved by the New Hampshire state board of education shall submit a criminal history records check on applicants for employment pursuant to this section to the division of state police.

II.  The selected applicant for employment or designated volunteer with a school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy shall submit to the employer a [notarized] criminal history records release form, as provided by the division of state police, which authorizes the division of state police to conduct a criminal history records check through its state records and through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to release a report of any misdemeanors and/or felony convictions and any charges pending disposition for any crimes listed in paragraph V to the superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy.  The applicant shall submit with the release form a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency or an authorized employee of the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy.  In the event that the first set of fingerprints is invalid due to insufficient pattern and a second set of fingerprints is necessary in order to complete the criminal history records check, the conditional offer of employment shall remain in effect.  If, after 2 attempts, a set of fingerprints is invalid due to insufficient pattern, the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy may, in lieu of the criminal history records check, accept police clearances from every city, town, or county where an applicant has lived during the past 5 years.

II-a.  For an initial credential, the applicant shall submit a criminal history records release form, as provided by the division of state police, which authorizes the release of a report of any misdemeanor or felony convictions and any charges pending disposition for any crimes listed in paragraph V, to the department of education, bureau of credentialing.  The applicant shall submit with the release form a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency or an authorized employee of the department of education.  An employee of the department of education shall review the applicant's criminal history to determine if the applicant qualifies for a credential.  The state board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, RSA 21-N:9, and RSA 186:11, which the commissioner shall enforce, relative to the types of criminal offenses which would disqualify an applicant from becoming a credential holder, a system of review for all other criminal convictions, and an appellate process by which an applicant may challenge a denial of a credential based on the applicant's criminal history.  A person who has been credentialed by the department of education under this paragraph shall be eligible for employment at a school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy without submitting to a criminal history records check pursuant to paragraph I(a).  However, the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy may require said applicant to submit to a criminal history records check for employment purposes.

III.  The superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy shall maintain the confidentiality of all criminal history records information received pursuant to this paragraph.  If the criminal history records information indicates no criminal record, the superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy shall destroy the information received immediately following review of the information.  If the criminal history records information indicates that the applicant has been convicted of any crime or has been charged pending disposition for or convicted of a crime listed in paragraph V, the superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy shall review the information for a hiring decision, and the division of state police shall notify the department of education of any such charges pending disposition or convictions.  The superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy shall destroy any criminal history record information that indicates a criminal record within 60 days of receiving such information.  The governing body of a school district, chartered public school, or public academy may adopt a policy allowing the school district, chartered public school, or public academy to require employees to re-submit to a criminal background check during the course of employment.

IV.  The school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy may require the selected applicant for employment or designated volunteer to pay the actual costs of the criminal history records check.

V.  Any person who has been charged pending disposition for or convicted of any violation or attempted violation of RSA 318-B:2; 630:1; 630:1-a; 630:1-b; 630:2; 631:1; 631:2; 631:2-b; 632-A:2; 632-A:3; 632-A:4; 633:1; 634:1; 639:2; 639:3; 645:1, II or III; 645:2; 649-A:3; 649-A:3-a; 649-A:3-b; 649-B:3; or 649-B:4; or any violation or any attempted violation of RSA 650:2 where the act involves a child in material deemed obscene; in this state, or under any statute prohibiting the same conduct in another state, territory, or possession of the United States, shall not be hired by a school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy.  The superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy may deny a selected applicant a final offer of employment if such person has been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or felony, in addition to those listed above.  The governing body of a school district, chartered public school, or public academy shall adopt a policy relative to hiring practices based on the results of the criminal history records check and report of misdemeanors and felonies received under paragraph II. Such policy may include language stating that any person who has been convicted of any misdemeanor, or any of a list of misdemeanors, may not be hired.  Such policy may also include language stating that any person who has been convicted of any felony, or any of a list of felonies, shall not be hired.

VI.  This section shall apply to any employee, selected applicant for employment, designated volunteer, or [volunteer organization] private contractor which contracts with a school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy to provide services, including but not limited to cafeteria workers, school bus drivers, custodial personnel, or any other service where the contractor or employees of the contractor provide services directly to students of the district, chartered public school, or public academy.  The employing school administrative unit, school district, or chartered public school shall be responsible for completing the criminal history records check on the [people] entities identified in this paragraph.  The cost for criminal history records checks for employees or selected applicants for employment with such contractors shall be borne by the contractor.  In this section, the terms "superintendent of the school administrative unit" or the "chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy" shall include a designee who shall be the assistant superintendent, business administrator, human resources manager, or director for the school administrative unit or chartered public school.

VII.  The school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy shall not be required to complete a criminal history records check on volunteers, provided that the governing body of a school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy shall adopt a policy designating certain categories of volunteers as "designated volunteers'' who shall be required to undergo a criminal history records check.

VIII.  A school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, public academy, or school official acting pursuant to a policy establishing procedures for certain volunteers shall be immune from civil or criminal liability, provided the school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, public academy, or school official has in good faith acted in accordance with said policy.  Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to grant immunity to any person for that person's reckless or wanton conduct.

IX.(a)  Substitute teachers and other educational staff, not otherwise addressed in this section, shall apply for a criminal history records check at the employing school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy.  The division of state police shall complete the criminal history records check, as established in paragraph II, and, upon completion, shall [issue a report to the applicant.  The report shall be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and shall constitute satisfactory proof of compliance with this section] report the results of the state and FBI criminal history record check to the employing school district.  The employing school district may, at the request of the substitute teachers or other educational staff not otherwise addressed in this section and for the same purpose as originally submitted, share the results with other school districts within 45 days of receiving said results.

(b)  Upon enrollment in an educator preparation program at an institution of higher education, a candidate shall submit to a criminal history records check.  The institution of higher education in which the candidate is enrolled shall conduct the criminal history records check.  Upon placement of a candidate as a student teacher, the receiving school administrative unit, school district, or chartered public school shall conduct another criminal history records check of the candidate and shall follow the same procedures for assessing the candidate's criminal history background as for applicants for employment.  The governing body of the institution of higher education may adopt a policy relative to how often a candidate shall submit to a criminal history records check.  In this subparagraph, "candidate'' shall mean a student who is enrolled in an educator preparation program at an institution of higher education in New Hampshire.

X.  Violations of this section shall be jointly investigated by the state police and the department of education. Information obtained through such investigations shall remain confidential and shall not be subject to RSA 91-A.

XI.  In this section, "public academy'' shall have the same meaning as in RSA 194:23, II.

2  Department of Education; Rulemaking.  Amend RSA 21-N:9, I(s) to read as follows:

(s)  Certification standards for educational personnel, and educator certification fees for granting credentials to educational personnel, including teachers, paraprofessionals, superintendents, assistant superintendents, special education administrators, business administrators, principals, vocational directors, coordinators of comprehensive health education and services, directors of pupil personnel services, guidance directors, guidance counselors, school psychologists, associate school psychologists, speech-language specialists, social workers, health educators, physical education teachers, consumer and family science teachers, elementary teachers, specialists in assessment of intellectual functioning, media supervisors, media generalists, and master teachers as authorized by RSA 186:8 and RSA 186:11, X, professional credentials including beginning educator credentials, experienced educator credentials, and intern licenses, and other classifications of educators, administrators, specialists, and paraprofessionals necessary to address educational needs as determined by the state board upon the recommendation of the professional standards board pursuant to RSA 186:60.  The term "certification standards" shall include rules relative to the types of criminal offenses which would disqualify an applicant from becoming a credential holder, a system of review for all other criminal convictions, and an appellate process by which an applicant may challenge a denial of a credential based on the applicant's criminal history.

3  State Board of Education; Duties.  Amend RSA 186:11, X(a) to read as follows:

(a)  Certification of teachers, supervisors, and administrators in the public schools.  The state board shall also examine the qualifications of candidates for those positions and issue certificates to those who meet the requirements of said rules.  The term "certification standards" shall include rules relative to the types of criminal offenses which would disqualify an applicant from becoming a credential holder, a system of review for all other criminal convictions, and an appellate process by which an applicant can challenge a denial of a credential based on the applicant's criminal history.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

LBAO

18-2927

1/5/18

 

SB 568-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to criminal history record checks for school employees and certain volunteers.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Funding Source:

  [    ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [ X ] Other - Education Credentialing Fund and Criminal Records Fund

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill modifies the process for criminal background checks for school employees and designated school volunteers, including requiring a criminal background check for initial educator credentialing with the Department of Education.  The Department estimates this will apply to the beginning educator credential, experienced educator credential, para-educators, and individuals eligible for “statement of eligibility”, which is not a credential, however allows an individual to be hired by a school district and work toward an eventual certification.  The Department estimates this would result in approximately 3,500 criminal background checks per year it would have to receive and interpret as part of its credentialing process.  The Department assumes it would need two additional positions to handle the additional workload; (1) full-time labor grade 23 position and (1) part-time labor grade 15 position.  The Department estimates total personnel costs to be approximately $84,000 per year.  In addition, the Department estimates it would incur a one-time database system upgrade cost of $5,000.  The Department’s Credentialing Bureau is funded entirely through credential fee revenue collected from educators, which are set through administrative rules.

 

The Department of Safety states to the extent this bill will result in a significant increase in requests for criminal background checks, the Division of State Police’s Criminal Records Unit will experience an increase in administrative workload.  The Criminal Records Unit is funded by the Criminal Records Fund, which is funded with fee revenue from background check requests.  While a total cost estimate cannot be made at this time, the Department assumes at a minimum it would need an additional full-time counter clerk position (labor grade 9), which has an estimated salary and benefit cost of $50,000, $53,000, $55,000, and $58,000 for FY 2019 through FY 2022, respectively.  Lastly, the increase in criminal background check requests will result in additional revenue to the Criminal Records Fund, however it cannot be estimated at this time.  For informational purposes, the fee for education employees would be $35 ($25 fee plus $10 administration fee) and $10 for volunteers (only $10 administration fee).

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Education and Department of Safety

 

Links

SB568 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 13, 2018 Senate Hearing
Feb. 20, 2018 Senate Hearing
Feb. 20, 2018 Senate Hearing
March 8, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
March 8, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
March 8, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
March 15, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
March 14, 2018 Senate Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

SB568 Revision: 2936 Date: Jan. 11, 2018, 9:20 a.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 3, 2018 Introduced 01/03/2018 and Referred to Education; SJ 2
Feb. 13, 2018 Hearing: ===RECESSED=== 02/13/2018, Room 103, LOB, 09:30 am; SC 6
Feb. 20, 2018 Hearing: 02/20/2018, Room 103, LOB, 09:00 am; SC 8
Feb. 20, 2018 Hearing: 02/20/2018, Room 103, LOB, 09:15 am, on proposed amendment # 2018-0669s; SC 8
March 8, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-0965s, 03/08/2018; SC 10A
March 8, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-0965s, 03/08/2018; SC 10A
March 8, 2018 Special Order to next session, Without Objection, MA; 03/08/2018; SJ 6
March 15, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-0965s, 03/15/2018; SC 11
March 14, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-0965s, 03/14/2018; SC 11
March 14, 2018 Committee Amendment # 2018-0965s, AF, VV; 03/14/2018; SJ 7
March 14, 2018 Sen. Reagan Floor Amendment # 2018-1033s, RC 1Y-23N, AF; 03/14/2018; SJ 7
March 14, 2018 Sen. Bradley Moved Laid on Table, MA, VV; 03/14/2018; SJ 7
March 14, 2018 Pending Motion Ought to Pass; 03/14/2018; SJ 7