IRVING, Texas — The Electronic Security Association (ESA) is asking its members to support a bill that will allow electronic security companies access to the FBI's database for criminal background checks of potential employees.
ESA has endorsed the "Electronic Life Safety and Security Systems Federal Background Check Act," which was introduced in the Senate in June by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). The bill (S.1319) would permit installing security contractors to access the FBI database for hiring purposes. It would also direct the Attorney General to work with ESA to launch a nationwide system of criminal background checks for electronic security companies.
The bill is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). During this process, ESA wants its members and other industry professionals to contact their senators, ESA Government Relations Director John Chwat says.
"This is a top legislative priority for ESA," he explains. "Now that the bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, we need the strength of our members behind it. We want to urge companies to let their voices be heard by contacting their Senators asking them to co-sponsor S. 1319 and to support passage of the bill. It carries a tremendous amount of impact when a senator hears from his constituents."
Earlier this year, ESA released a position paper emphasizing the importance for all employees to undergo background checks.
"It is simply an outrage that a potential felon has access to our citizens' homes and businesses without his employer knowing his or her record," according to the document. "States are not able to keep up on crimes committed from one state to another, and many private background check services do not capture complete FBI information on which to base a hiring judgment."
The bill will not make background checks mandatory, Chwat says. Instead it would grant the electronic security industry the same access to the FBI database that is currently available to other industries. Ultimately, the Justice Department would work with ESA to establish goals and standards for background checks, including privacy protections and employee rights.
Click here to download a customizable letter of support. The document will open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, allowing members to fill in their senator's name, address, and their company name. Members can fax the letters to Chwat's office at (703) 684-6594 or via E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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