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Relating to criminal history record information obtained by the consumer credit commissioner.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1075 would amend different sections of the Government Code and Finance Code. It would expand the authority of the Consumer Credit Commissioner (CCC) to request a criminal history record from the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Specifically, this bill would allow the CCC to request a criminal history report on the following:
Additionally, the commissioner may release the criminal history information for the following reasons:
SB 1075 updates the fingerprint requirements under the Finance Code to include the new entities the CCC may request a criminal history report on.
Moreover, the CCC could issue fees and service costs to people who must register for certain financial entities under the Finance Code.
Lastly, SB 1075 repeals Sections 14.154(b) and 14.155(b) from the Finance Code. This legislation repeals these sections so they do not conflict with the new provisions.
A criminal history record will haunt a person for the rest of his or her life because it serves as a barrier to getting a job. People who have committed a crime should be punished, but once they have paid their debt to society for those transgressions (i.e. jail time, community service, etc.) they should not have to endure a lifelong punishment by a criminal history record.
The authority for the CCC to request a criminal background check already exists in statute for most financial services that are licensed under the OCCC. SB 1075 would expand that authority to include other persons whose criminal background record the CCC may request. However, we cannot support legislation that is a clear violation of an individual’s liberty by continuing to punish him or her for a crime he or she has already been punished for and which may have occurred in the far distant past.
Requiring background checks and felony disclosure will ultimately result in qualified people being refused a license based on past history that may have no relevance to the profession they are seeking a license for. Not all felonies are the same and the mere fact of a felony in someone's past is not sufficient to deny an occupational license. For instance, there are nearly a dozen felonies you can commit with an oyster in Texas.
It is obvious that an oyster related felony should not prevent a person from obtaining a real estate appraisal license and that is likely not the intent of this provision of the bill. However, it will be the unintended consequence. The licensing board will inevitably feel pressure to make sure that they are not issuing licenses to people with serious felony convictions but will eventually adopt a "zero tolerance" policy for felonies and use any felony conviction whatsoever to screen out applicants. This is a foreseeable outcome of SB 1007 and other bills which seek to expand mandatory background checks for occupational license applicants.
We oppose SB 1075 because it violates our individual liberty and limited government principles by allowing the CCC to continue to punish individuals for crimes they committed even after they have paid their debt to society for those crimes.