1997 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Bean
Senate Bill 2054
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 45-31-12, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD CHECKS SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN VOLUNTEERS OR PROSPECTIVE VOLUNTEERS PROVIDING SERVICES TO CHILDREN IN CHILD CARE AGENCIES IF THE EMPLOYEES MAINTAIN DIRECT SUPERVISION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 45-31-12, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-31-12. (1) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this subsection:
(a) "Child" or "children" means any person under eighteen (18) years of age.
(b) "Sex offense" means any offense listed in Section 45-31-3(i).
(c) "Sex offense criminal history record information" has the meaning ascribed to this phrase in Section 45-31-3(j).
(2) Any institution, facility, clinic, organization or other entity that provides services to children in a residential setting where care, lodging, maintenance, and counseling or therapy for alcohol or controlled substance abuse or for any other emotional disorder or mental illness is provided for children, whether for compensation or not, that holds itself out to the public as providing such services, and that is entrusted with the care of the children to whom it provides services, because of the nature of the services and the setting in which the services are provided shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
(3) Each entity to which subsection (2) applies shall obtain sex offense criminal history record information, as authorized under Section 45-31-1 et seq., and felony conviction record information for each employee, prospective employee, volunteer or prospective volunteer of the entity who provides or would provide services to children for the entity. Provided, however, that sex offense criminal history and felony conviction record information shall not be required for volunteers or prospective volunteers if employees of the entity maintain direct supervision over the children for the entity during the period of time such volunteers are providing services to the children. In order to determine the applicant's suitability for employment, the applicant shall be fingerprinted. If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the FBI for a national criminal history record check.
(4) No entity to which subsection (2) applies shall employ any person, or allow any person to serve as a volunteer, who would provide services to children for the entity if the person:
(a)(i) Has a felony conviction for a crime against persons;
(ii) Has a felony conviction under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act;
(iii) Has a conviction for a crime of child abuse or neglect;
(iv) Has a conviction for any sex offense as defined in Section 45-31-3; or
(v) Has a conviction for any other offense committed in another jurisdiction or any federal offense which would constitute one (1) of the offenses listed in this subsection without regard to its designation in that jurisdiction or under federal law;
(b) Has had a child declared in a court order in this or any other state to be deprived or a child in need of care based on an allegation of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect or sexual abuse; or
(c) Has had parental rights terminated pursuant to Section 93-15-101 et seq.
(5) Any entity that violates the provisions of this section by failure to obtain sex offense criminal history record information and felony conviction record information as required under subsection (3) of this section shall be subject to a penalty of up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) for each such violation and may be enjoined from further operation until it complies with this section in actions maintained by the Attorney General.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.