News Release: Governor Signs into Law Comprehensive Background Screening Protections for Vulnerable Floridians

May 27, 2010

Florida State Representative William D. Snyder’s Office issued the following news release on May 27, 2010:

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist signed into law House Bill (HB) 7069 by Representative William Snyder (R‐Stuart). The bi‐partisan legislation will close loopholes in the background screening process to keep criminals and predators away from Florida’s most vulnerable citizens such as children, seniors and the

Representative Snyder released the following statement:

A series of investigations by a south Florida newspaper found that convicted felons were able to work with children and seniors for several weeks before their background checks were completed. Once the results were in, criminals could still qualify to work with vulnerable populations by obtaining an exemption through a state agency.

HB 7069 closes the loopholes that were identified in current law. The protections included in the legislation provide that no one can begin work with children, disabled adults or adults over 65 years of age until after a background screening is completed and the applicant is found to be qualified.

Any exemptions for prior offenses cannot be made for at least three years following all sentencing sanctions, and any exemptions that are made can only be approved by the agency director. More importantly, the legislation provides that sexual predators will never receive an exemption to work with vulnerable populations.

“Our children and senior citizens deserve the protection this legislation provides. Society has no more solemn obligation than to protect these vulnerable population groups,” said Representative Snyder.