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Criminal History Background Checks

Criminal History Background Checks. March 2013. Criminal History Background Checks. To comply with current statute, Occupational Licensing (OLS) expanded our criminal history background process.

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Criminal History Background Checks

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  1. Criminal History Background Checks March 2013

  2. Criminal History Background Checks • To comply with current statute, Occupational Licensing (OLS) expanded our criminal history background process. • OLS began to conduct criminal history background checks (CHBC) on all applicants on both new and renewal applications on 8/20/12.

  3. Criminal History Background Checks • The statutes that are applicable, give us direction in our process. We have used those statutes to try and meet these two goals; • Protect the public safety. • License all who meet requirements and do not jeopardize the public.

  4. License Risk Level • The goal of the CHBC is to identify what offense, if any, has been committed and what risk that action carries for the public. • To assist with assigning risk, we have categorized the 10 licenses into three risk categories. High, Medium, and Low based on possible contact with the public.

  5. Licenses By Risk Level

  6. TAC 30.33 • 30.33 provides the general background for what we must consider and evaluate. • Specifically; • An offense that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation; • An offense that does not directly relate and was committed < 5 years before the applicant for a license;

  7. TAC 30.33 cont. • An offense listed in CCP 42.12 (sample) • Murder; • Capital murder; • Indecency with a child; • Aggravated kidnapping; • Aggravated sexual assault; • Aggravated robbery; • A sexually violent offense, identified in CCP 62.001 • Quite a list of offenses and other sections of the CCP to reference. Mostly related to sexual assault.

  8. The Current Process • Application for new or renewing license received with the new Criminal History form completed by the applicant. • As part of review, OLS conducts a CHBC via DPS. • If a conviction is found or is reported on the form by the applicant that corresponds to the list, the evaluation committee reviews for possible action.

  9. The Current Process cont. • Executive Review Committee (ERC) consists of OL manager and two Special Assistants and an attorney. • Decision of ERC is approved by higher level management if detrimental to the applicant or potentially unsafe for public.

  10. The Current Process cont. • Licensee to be notified of decision if adverse to licensee to allow for due process. • Licensee enters into current SOAH process that handles all denial, revocation, or suspension hearings and provides for licensee to present their case.

  11. Criminal History Review Request • Requesting a criminal history evaluation review. • Evaluation form is available to submit criminal history. • A potential licensee (currently holds no licenses) may ask for evaluations prior to submitting an application. • Currently, no cost to this based on limited number of evaluation requests.

  12. Current Status • Since 8/20/12: • CHBC conducted 9993 • Number referred to ERC 636 • Number referred for action 13

  13. FAQ • Why can’t TCEQ staff give me an idea of my situation over the phone? • Incomplete and unsubstantiated information. • Non-verified individual over the phone.

  14. FAQ cont. • Why can’t you tell me exactly what is missing from my submitted criminal history? • The criminal history we are looking at is confidential. It can’t be shared with anyone over the phone or we’re violating the law.

  15. FAQ cont. • Why can’t my Concealed Handgun License (CHL) count for my background check? • The CHBC is time sensitive. A CHL done 6 months earlier is too old and may not be accurate any longer. DPS invalidates CHBC every 7 days. • We consider different convictions for eligibility than the CHL.

  16. FAQ cont. • My city/company does CHBC at the point of hire. Why isn’t that acceptable? • The statute requires the TCEQ to conduct this check. • Additionally, the TCEQ and your city/company may have different standards.

  17. FAQ cont. • Do you really have to have my complete criminal history to the dawn of time? • Yes. Some convictions require evaluation regardless of when committed. • Some histories, as a whole, need evaluation where just a single conviction may not. • Seeing when all convictions occurred can be beneficial for the applicant. A series of convictions close in time but in the distant past is less troubling than one conviction last week.

  18. Questions? • Contact Info: • Russell Gardner • OOW/PRS/Occupational Licensing • 512.239.3111 • Russell.Gardner@tceq.texas.gov

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