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Senate Approves Sweeney Measure Requiring Background Checks For Employees Of Independent Contractors

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a measure sponsored by Senator Steve Sweeney that would require identity and criminal background checks for employees of independent contractors employed at industrial sites.

“This measure would serve as a preventative measure to help protect the State’s chemical plants and other related sites,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “Currently, independent contractors are able to hire workers without knowledge of their criminal history. It is imperative that we know the history of people who work at secure facilities like chemical plants, and other buildings that could be used in terrorist attacks. This bill is about protecting public safety.”

The Senator’s measure, S-462, would require that independent contractors conduct a background check on any applicant being considered for a “critical position” at any State industrial site. According to the bill, criteria for “critical positions” or positions with access to private facility and security information, would be defined by the State Attorney General. The Domestic Security Task Force would be charged with the responsibility of working with industry executives to develop a Statewide domestic security policy.

All background checks would be funded by the independent contractors , and would be repeated every five years for the length of each worker’s employment. In the event that a background check disqualifies an applicant from employment, he or she would have 20 days to petition for permission to review the information.

This measure was unanimously approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee on March 2. It now heads to the Assembly for approval.

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