California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has recently vetoed Senate Bill 1262 (SB 1262) a bill intended to protect CRA and employers the ability to perform FCRA compliance background checks. The legislation passed overwhelmingly through California’s legislature, now returning to the State’s Senate, leaving CRAs, employers, and anyone reliant on criminal background checks to deal with significant delays in CA.
Senator Bradford introduced SB 1262 in response to an Appellate Court’s 2021 decision in the case of All of or None v. Hamrick. This case prohibited California county courts from including personal identifiers such as dates of birth or driver’s license numbers in connection to criminal defendants in court records.
Personal identifiers are critical for background check providers to help accurately verify whether records connect to specific individuals. This accuracy is crucial to comply with federal, state, and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) laws.
California’s legislature passed SB 1262 to resolve the difficulties caused by these unprecedented changes addressing the advocacy of the business community, background check providers, and others who felt negatively impacted by the Appellate Court’s decision. The bill would add only one sentence to California Government Code § 69842 and change one clause.
Under Section 69842, the clerk of the Superior Court must maintain indexes that permit ready reference to actions and proceedings filed with the court. Under the changes made by SB 1262, the law would provide that “[p]ublicly accessible electronic indexes of defendants in criminal cases shall permit searches and filtering of results based on a defendant’s driver’s license number or date of birth, or both.”
Though the changes to state law would be minimal, the impact is significant. It would ensure background check companies that already have access to an individual’s date of birth and driver’s license number can use the court’s electronic indexes to connect a record to the individual. Under the effects of the decision in Hamrick, making these confirmations has become complicated and, in some cases, impossible.
Despite the unanimous decision by the State Senate and overwhelming passage through the assembly, the governor has decided to veto the bill increasing background screening difficulties and delays. Employers and others should ensure the right provider to run their background screenings to help determine the best options for vetting individuals in light of these difficulties.