Legislative Alerts – July 7th, 2014

Legislative Alerts – July 7th, 2014

By Jennifer Gladstone

background check for ice cream manIs the Ice Cream Man Dangerous?

Does the ice cream man need a background check?  In this day and age, there are many who think it’s a very good idea.

Los Angeles County might mandate fingerprinting and a criminal background check for anyone who sells products directly to unsupervised children.

Don Knabe, who introduced the motion, points out that the vendors catering to minors tend to congregate near parks, school and libraries.  Often children make their purchases, or just hang out nearby, without any adult supervision.

The county already requires background checks for those who operate adult businesses.

The report on the feasibility of implementing these checks is due back to the Board of Supervisors in July.

Federal Background Checks Severely Lacking

The federal government needs to make some drastic improvements to its background screening efforts.

The inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released new details from its recent audit.  The OPM’s handling of background screening has been under a microscope since it was discovered that the same government contractor conducted background checks for both Edward Snowden and the Washington Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis.

The analysis looked at the process OPM and its contractors use to review background checks.  The results revealed that some background check contractors reviewed impossibly high numbers of reports.  One employee reported finishing more than 15,000 reviews in a single month.

Auditors also found weak controls that allowed cases to move forward without proper reviews.  The Department of Justice is currently suing that contractor, accusing the company of signing off on at least 665,000 investigations that were not properly vetted.

To help remedy some of these issues the OPM is going to require that all future contracts mandate proof that the background check firms’ employees have received the proper training. Firms are also being asked to re-evaluate their internal controls when it comes to training.

State Laws Stalled by the Feds

The state of Texas wants people from certain professions, like nursing and truck driving, to take a drug test before receiving unemployment benefits.  The legislature passed a bill, and Governor Rick Perry signed it.

The law was supposed to go into effect on February 1, 2014, but it can’t be enforced yet because the federal government is dragging its feet.  A federal law was passed to allow states to require these drug tests, but the Department of Labor hasn’t laid out which job titles and job classifications are covered.

The Department of Labor was supposed to start the rule-making process back in March.  There’s no word on whether it actually did.  A spokesperson for the department said this is a long process and the final rules may still be several months away.
Texas is not alone in this wait.

Mississippi and Kansas have passed similar legislation, and are stuck in limbo too.

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About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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