1999 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Representative Moody
House Bill 867
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 45-31-12, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR RELEASING INFORMATION RELATING TO CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD CHECKS TO CERTAIN CHILD RESIDENTIAL FACILITIES; 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 complete, through the appropriate governmental authority, sex offense criminal history record information, as authorized under Section 45-31-1 et seq., and felony conviction record information checks for each employee, prospective employee, volunteer or prospective volunteer of the entity who provides or would provide services to children for the entity. In order to determine the applicant's suitability for employment, the entity shall ensure that the applicant be fingerprinted by local law enforcement, and the results forwarded to the Department of Public Safety. 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) Upon receipt of the information from the FBI as to the national criminal history record check, the Department of Public Safety shall submit to the applicable entity the following:
(a) The applicant meets the criteria for employment/licensing under the above state statute; or
(b) The applicant's fingerprints submitted to the FBI were unclassifiable. As a result, only a name-check was conducted, and no criminal record was located. If you desire a further check by fingerprints, please attach a new set of fingerprints to the unclassifiable set and resubmit them to this office for transmittal to the FBI Identification Division; or
(c) The applicant does not meet the criteria for employment/licensing under the above state statute.
No further information shall be released unless specifically authorized by the FBI.
The Department of Public Safety and its employees are hereby exempt from any civil liability as a result of any action taken as to the compilation and/or release of information pursuant to this section and any applicable section of the code.
(5) 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) Has a felony conviction for a crime against persons;
(b) Has a felony conviction under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act;
(c) Has a conviction for a crime of child abuse or neglect;
(d) Has a conviction for any sex offense as defined in Section 45-31-3; or
(e) 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.
(6) All fees incurred in compliance with this section shall be borne by the entity to which subsection (2) applies.
(7) Any entity that violates the provisions of this section by failure to complete sex offense criminal history record information and felony conviction record information checks, 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, 1999.