Excerpted from an Louisiana Illuminator post by JC Canicosa

Right now, Louisiana K-12 teachers are required to undergo a single criminal background check for their teaching certificate and during the hiring process. They may soon have to go through a subsequent review, paid for partially out of their own pockets.

House Bill 156, authored by Rep. Barbara Freiburg, R-Baton Rouge, would require teachers to get a second criminal history check within the next five years. It was advanced on May 19 from the Senate Education Committee.

Freiburg said she “hates to bring this bill,” but the Louisiana Department of Education’s (LDE) single criminal background check system was “proven to not be the correct method in the eyes of the federal government.

“The Louisiana State Police and the FBI unfortunately are telling us this is necessary, and we have to do this,” said Ethan Melancon, director of governmental affairs for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, who spoke to the committee in support of the bill.

“If we do not continue with this, some of the fallout could be that we will not receive criminal background checks from the FBI anymore,” he said.

If passed, the state education department would process an estimated additional 53,000 background checks annually. The LDE expects the additional background checks will cost $808,080 in the first year of implementation and $701,080 in subsequent years, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

The bill passed with a 93-5 vote in the Louisiana House and now moves to the Senate Finance Committee to have its cost approved.