Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Craig J. Coughlin and Jack Ciattarelli that would require municipalities which license canvassers, peddlers and solicitors to accept background check results from county prosecutors received General Assembly approval on Thursdsay.
Under the bill (A-815), county prosecutors would be responsible for handling the fingerprinting and conducting the background checks for individuals applying for a canvasser, peddler or solicitor license. If granted, the license would be valid in all municipalities within that particular county.
“Eliminating senseless and costly redundancies in this area will help make New Jersey more business-friendly,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Background checks are costly to begin with and can add up a great deal if someone is forced to undergo one for every town they’re seeking to work in. Under this bill, licensed solicitors approved by a county prosecutor would be able to have their license cross-honored in all municipalities in that particular county.”
Ciattarelli said the bill will help further reduce burdensome and costly government regulations for both license applicants and local police departments.
“The purpose of this bill is to leverage regional models dedicated to making local government more efficient and streamline the application processes for applicants,” said Ciattarelli (R-Somerset/Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex). “It benefits both applicants and local police departments. Under current law, certain applicants are required to seek licensure in multiple towns as a canvasser, peddler, or solicitor.
“This measure eliminates duplication and saves applicants time and money by ending the need for them to pay the same fee and have their fingerprints taken multiple times,” he continued. “At the same time, local police departments will no longer have to dedicate staff and time to conduct background checks and fingerprint applicants.”
The measure also contains a six-month cap for the lifespan of the background check. Coughlin said the cap is needed because an individual can receive a clean background check, for example, on March 1, 2014, apply for multiple permits throughout the state, then commit a crime thereafter and the issuing municipalities would never know.
Many municipalities require applicants for a canvasser, peddler, or solicitor license to provide their fingerprints so that a state criminal history record background check of the applicant can be conducted by the State Police. The fee for fingerprinting and conducting the check is $41. A background check that indicates the applicant has a criminal record may disqualify an applicant from being issued the license.