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Calabrese Bill Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Certain DOBI Employees Clears Assembly Committee

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (D-Bergen, Passaic) requiring criminal history background checks for certain Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) employees cleared the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Thursday.

The bill (A-4059) requires the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance to conduct a criminal history record background check, including a name and fingerprint identification check, of each DOBI employee handling sensitive personal, financial and proprietary information.

“We need to be vigilant and proactive to protect residents of our state,” said Calabrese (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Identity fraud reached an all-time high of 16.7 million victims in the United States in 2017 alone. Legislatively, we need to do whatever we can to protect our residents’ confidential information.”

The bill would also authorize the Commissioner to exchange fingerprint data with, and to receive information from, the State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Upon receipt of the criminal history record information for an employee or prospective employee from the Division of State Police or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Commissioner would notify the employee or prospective employee, in writing, of the employee’s or prospective employee’s qualification for employment in the department.

In addition, the bill would direct the Division of State Police to notify the Commissioner should an employee or prospective employee become the subject of a criminal history record background check or is arrested for a crime or offense in New Jersey after the date of the background check. It would further mandate that a person could not serve as an officer, employee, or any other class of personnel in the department if convicted of any crime involving dishonesty, breach of trust, money laundering, or any other crime considered detrimental to the person’s employment in the department.

The bill cleared an Assembly panel on June 4 and now awaits further consideration by the Assembly.