Rep. Lanoue’s Proposal Requiring Background Checks for Youth Camp Employees Resurfaces in 2020 with Strong Bipartisan Support

HARTFORD – State Representative Brian Lanoue (R-Griswold, Lisbon, Plainfield, Sterling, Voluntown) has submitted a bill request to the General Assembly’s Committee on Children. The proposal is based on Rep. Lanoue’s 2019 legislation, H.B. 5165An Act Requiring Background Checks for Prospective Youth Camp Employees. Although the bill cleared the appropriate committees, it was not called for a vote on the House floor. Now, there is a good chance the bill will move forward in the short session as a bipartisan group of more than twenty lawmakers have already signed onto the proposal.

The revised language requires any person who manages a youth camp to require all prospective employees to undergo a background check before an offer of employment may be extended. The background check would verify a candidate’s personal information and would look for a history of abuse, neglect, sexual misconduct, or criminal convictions, among other information. A physical or electronic copy of any material obtained during the screening must be kept on file and made available for inspection by the Office of Early Childhood.

“Last year, we were very close to getting this legislation through, and that’s because legislators on both sides of the aisle recognized the urgent need to protect our children from sexual predators,” Rep. Lanoue said. “This bill must pass this year. Delaying it further will only put more children in danger. We need to assure parents across Connecticut that camps operating in our state are properly vetting any person who could have access to their daughter or son. I thank all the legislators who have signed onto the proposal, and I hope the Committee on Children does the right thing by advancing this bill.”

During short legislative sessions, which are held in even years, members may only introduce legislation pertaining to the state budget. All other proposals must be funneled through the committee with cognizance over such matters. If this bill passes and is signed into law by Governor Lamont, it will take effect on October 1st, 2020.

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