CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 2083, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, as Amended,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on May 22, 2013 by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
H.R. 2083 will require criminal background checks of school employees, defined to include prospective employees and current employees, in schools receiving any funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This includes a search of State criminal registries, State child abuse and neglect registries, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint check, and a search of the National Sex Offender Registry.
The Act further prohibits the employment of any school employee who refuses to consent to any of the background checks listed above, makes false statements in connection with a background check, or has been convicted of a violent felony. Moreover, this legislation requires background checks be periodically repeated or updated (as determined by the state). However, it also provides an option for individuals to challenge the accuracy or completeness of the information produced by the background checks. The bill also clarifies that if the background check is deemed inaccurate, the school employee would be eligible for employment.
Similar legislation passed the House (H.R. 6547) in the 111th Congress by a vote of 314-20. Additionally, a similar amendment offered by Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) was adopted by voice vote during floor consideration of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. The Government Accountability Office issued a report on selected cases of sex offenders working in school in 2010 which highlighted several stories of sex offenders being hired to work with or around students but did not provide a national picture of the issue. According to the report, 50 states and the District of Columbia have widely varying policies governing background checks.
A formal CBO estimate is currently unavailable.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.