In some tension with its passage of “ban the box” legislation, the General Assembly this year continued its trend of pushing to impose criminal background checks on applicants for a number of employment and volunteer positions, including taxicab companies (H 5355), school volunteers (H 5537, S 0144), long-term care facilities (H 5539, S 0458), and any business that offers any services to children (H 5678), among others. (H 5276, S 0332, S 0347, S 0468). Fortunately, most of the bills died. One that didn't was a bill (H 5229) amending legislation requiring background checks for school mentors. The original bill passed two years ago was so onerous and broadly worded that it led to the derailment of a school mentoring program in Warwick for students’ senior projects. The law was amended this year, but only slightly. Such broad and confusing background check legislation has become the norm; legislation drafted by the ACLU and introduced by Representative Edith Ajello sought to provide some uniformity to the state’s numerous background check requirements. The ACLU testified in support of that legislation before the House Judiciary committee in April, but it failed to receive a committee vote.
Criminal Background Checks