The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that would significantly change how background screenings are performed in the state. As written, H.B. No. 2700 (2015) would require court clerks and criminal justice agencies to refuse requests for bulk criminal history record information concerning Class A, Class B, or felony offenses for which a final judgment has been rendered. Instead, they must refer the requestor to Texas Department of Public Safety.
This change means that landlords, employers, educational institutions, volunteer organizations, nonprofits, and other end-users of background screenings will not only incur delay in receipt of criminal record information, but will also receive results that are more likely to be incomplete.
According to Texas DPS, “an analysis by the Criminal Justice Policy Council in May, 2002 estimated that only about 60% of the dispositions in local courts are present in the DPS database.” Further, the delivery of final disposition information to DPS is contingent upon cooperation between arresting agencies, prosecuting agencies, and court clerks. The correct reporting of information by each entity is dependent on the receipt of accurate and complete data from the prior reporting agency.
Texas DPS admits that reporting should be improved to boost the completeness of the records maintained in its database.
Requiring that criminal record information requests be channeled through a database in need of such improvement may negatively impact the accuracy of information received by end-users who rely on the information to make staffing decisions. Incomplete records and delays in reporting jeopardize the safety of citizens and undermine the effectiveness of the background screening that is needed to protect society and guard against crime.
Should you be interested in taking action against this proposed legislation, contact your Texas legislator today! You can find your legislator here.
Contact Accurate Background
For additional questions, please contact Accurate Background at 800.216.8024. For more information regarding recent Ban the Box initiatives in other states and jurisdictions, visit our Legislative Updates page.
Please note: The information provided above is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to be legal advice, either expressed or implied. Accurate Background recommends that you consult with your legal counsel regarding all employment regulations.