2004 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Burton
AN ACT TO CODIFY SECTIONS 43-15-301 AND 43-15-311, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROHIBIT PERSONS CONVICTED OF CERTAIN SEX OFFENSES FROM EMPLOYMENT OR VOLUNTEER SERVICE AT ANY CHILD CARE SERVICE INVOLVING THE CARE, INSTRUCTION OR GUIDANCE OF MINORS WHICH IS NOT LICENSED OR ACCREDITED BY THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI; TO PROVIDE FOR MANDATORY SUBMISSION OF ALL SUCH APPLICANTS AT CHILD CARE SERVICES TO THE MISSISSIPPI SEXUAL OFFENDER REGISTRY FOR VERIFICATION; TO PROVIDE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following provision shall be codified as Section 43-15-301, Mississippi Code of 1972:
43-15-301. (1) As used in this act:
(a) "Child care service" means any employment or volunteer service involving the care, instruction or guidance of minor children, including, but not limited to, service as a teacher, coach or worker of any type in child athletics, a daycare worker, boy or girl scout leader or master or worker, summer camp counselor or worker, guidance counselor or school administrator. It shall not include any employment or volunteer service at a child care facility, institution, residential home which is licensed by the State of Mississippi and required to conduct criminal record background checks for employees and volunteers, or any public school or accredited private school required to conduct criminal record background checks under Section 37-9-17.
(b) "Employer" means every person, firm, association, partnership or corporation offering or conducting child care services as defined in Section (1)(a) of this section.
(c) "Applicant" means any person who is being considered for employment or for a volunteer by an employer.
(d) "Convicted" means any adjudicated finding of guilt, any adjudicated finding that the applicant is physically or mentally incompetent, any adjudicated finding that the applicant is not guilty by reason of insanity, or any plea of nolo contendere.
(e) "Sex Offense" shall hold the same definition as Section 45-33-23(g) et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972.
(2) An employer offering or conducting a child care service shall not employ or permit to volunteer an applicant convicted of any sex offense as defined in Section 45-33-23(g) et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972.
(3) An employer offering or conducting a child care service shall be required to submit an applicant's name to the Mississippi Sexual Offender Registry for verification that the applicant is not a sexual offender. If an applicant's name is listed on the registry, an employer is required to notify the Department of Public Safety within seventy-two (72) hours.
(4) A person who would be prohibited from employment or volunteer service by a child care service provider pursuant to subsection (2) of this section may not, on or after, January 1, 2005, own or operate a child care service as defined by subsection (1) of this section.
SECTION 2. The following provision shall be codified as Section 43-15-303, Mississippi Code of 1972:
43-15-303. (1) An applicant is guilty of a felony if, having been convicted of one or more paragraphs of Section 43-15-301, he knowingly undertakes employment or volunteer service of any type of child care service. Upon conviction under subsection (1) of this section, a person shall be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for not less than five (5) years but no greater than fifteen (15) years.
(2) An applicant is guilty of a felony if, having been convicted of a sexual offense as defined by Section 45-33-23(g) et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972, he knowingly fails to provide information of such conviction when applying or volunteering for service or employment at any type of child care service. Upon conviction under subsection (2) of this section, a person shall be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for not less than one (1) year but no greater than five (5) years.
(3) An employer is guilty of a misdemeanor if, having received an application for employment or volunteer services, fails to run the applicant's name through the Mississippi Sexual Offender Registry. Upon conviction under subsection (3) of this section, a person shall be fined One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) and/or imprisoned not less than one (1) month but no greater than six (6) months.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.