March 7, 2014

CONFEREES:  Rep. Robert Behning; Rep. Shelli Vandenburgh; Sen. Dennis Kruse; Sen. John Broden.

 

Another proposal made to amend HB 1319 is the inclusion of a version of HB 1233 which requires that every school employee of a public, charter, and accredited nonpublic school undergo and personally pay for an expanded criminal history check within the next 5 five years (as it was explained, the new wrinkle in this attempt is that this would be a once-in-a-career requirement.

 

This bill failed at least twice in the Senate--not achieving a constitutional majority each time--but here we are again.  IN an effort to glean more support, the authors havfe changed the requirement from every 5 years to once in a career and within 5 years.  ISTA has not seen the actual language yet.

 

This move further makes one wonder what the real goal is here. 

 

The history of this bill as far as we know is that the STate Police started to outsource the background checks to a FOR PROFIT company.  Certainly, ISTA is not opposed to protecting children--its members spend their careers protecting children--but this attempt is above existing guidelines only because it is now a profit-making enterprise. 

 

Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) twice on the Senate floor spoke against this bill after hearing the testimony on it in the Senate Education Committee.  He indicated that the vendor who testified didn't really make a case to his satisfaction fo rthis new requirement.  Clearly, some entities will be making money off of the initiative with little knowleege as to what the state may gain--all the while with the bill footed by teachers.

 

ISTA certainly agrees that classrooms and school buidings must remian safe from those who do wrong.  But the systems and checks are alread there in place.  If this is going to be a state priority then the state should fund it.  One wonders what other professions require these kinds of background checks and the require the employee to pay for them.

 

ACTION:  Please urge your State Representative and State Senator to oppose the inclusion of this bill into HB 1319.

 

Also, if you'd rather call the State House Switchboard during normal working hours and leave your message with the Legislators' Legislative Assistants, please use the following toll-free numbers:

 

HOUSE:  800-382-9842

SENATE:  800-382-9467