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House Bill 490 — Criminal background checks

House Bill 490 — Criminal background checks

by
Parrish Miller
February 9, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 490 standardizes statutory requirements for background checks, expands which license applications require them, and allows the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing broad authority to require background checks not otherwise required by law.

Rating: -2

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

House Bill 490 would amend numerous sections of Idaho code related to occupational licensure to replace language describing background check requirements with a reference to Section 67-9411A, Idaho Code, which is created by this bill. 

If the bill were limited to cleaning up and standardizing code references, there would be little to object to. But the bill goes beyond this, imposing fingerprint-based background checks on applicants who are not now statutorily required to undergo these checks, including "licensed professional counselors" (Section 54-3405, Idaho Code); "licensed clinical professional counselors" (Section 54-3405A, Idaho Code); "licensed associate marriage and family therapists" (Section 54-3405B, Idaho Code); and "licensed marriage and family therapists" (Section 54-3405C, Idaho Code).

(-1)

This bill would do more than impose fingerprint-based background checks on applicants for specific occupational licenses, which is bad enough. It would also grant broad authority to the administrator of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses, saying he "is authorized to receive criminal history information from the Idaho state police and from the federal bureau of investigation for the purpose of evaluating the fitness of applicants for occupational and professional licensure."

This is a substantial expansion of the authority of the administrator and the division to impose barriers to entry into the market.

(-1)

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