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Background check bill becomes law

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Bonnie Culverhouse

bonnie@press-herald.com

A bill that allows businesses to run background checks on potential employees has been signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Senate Bill 150, authored by District 36 Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, passed the Senate 33-0 and the House 78-17 during the recent legislative session.

“There are certain businesses that have to get criminal histories on people before hiring them,” Adley said. “There are two types of background checks: one that requires fingerprinting and complete background and another one that requires nothing but a name and ID check. In other words, you ask if this person is who they say they are. The PI gets on a computer and types in a name, looks at a picture and ID and says ‘yeah, that’s who that is.’”

Adley said that in 1993, all types of background checks were thrown into the same hat.

“Now, you have nursing homes and other places that don’t even have to fingerprint potential employees any more,’ he said. “You cannot be a company to run that background check unless you are a private investigator authorized by the state police.”

Adley said a state police representative told him there were approximately 10 companies in the state authorized to run the checks.

“You might have one PI running 7,000 background checks a month,” he said. “There is like a monopoly on this business.”

Adley said for each background check, the state should receive $26 from the private investigator; however, some PIs are charging less and allegedly paying nothing to the state.

“As I dug into this, it became very suspicious looking,” Adley said. “The state ­– over the last 10 or 15 years – could be missing two or three million (dollars) a year in income.”

According to the senator’s bill, “an individual seeking approval as an authorized agency shall submit an application to the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information along with the following documents to prove the individual’s qualifications.”

“At the end of the day, I passed the bill I wanted to pass which lets a private company also participate in these background checks and now everybody is paying the twenty-six dollars to the state,” he said.