Colorado Legislative Council Staff



(replaces fiscal impact dated February 17, 1999)

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 99-0148

Rep. Lawrence

Sen. Wham


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

April 2, 1999

House Appropriations

Janis Baron (303-866-3523)



Fiscal Impact Summary

FY 1999/2000

FY 2000/2001

State Revenues

Cash Fund



State Expenditures

Cash Fund Exempt

$ 21,112

$ 21,037

FTE Position Change

0.1 FTE

0.1 FTE

Other State Impact: None

Effective Date: July 1, 1999 — applies to persons hired by or entering into new contracts with the Department of Human Services on or after that date, and to persons hired or contracting with the Department of Human Services prior to that date who commit disqualifying criminal offenses on or after July 1, 1999.

Appropriation Summary for FY 1999-2000:

Department of Public Safety — $21,112 CFE and 0.1 FTE

Local Government Impact: See Local Government Impact section of the fiscal note.

Summary of Legislation

            Criminal Background Checks — The bill, as amended by both the House HEWI and Finance Committees, requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to conduct criminal background checks for any state personnel system employee who is hired for a position involving direct contact with vulnerable persons. As amended, the bill makes the definition of "direct contact" permissive. The criminal background checks and employment disqualification requirements in the bill apply to state employees who work directly with:


               persons receiving services pursuant to title 27 in state-operated facilities (mentally ill persons and the developmentally disabled);

               persons receiving vocational rehabilitation services from DHS;

               persons residing in state veterans nursing homes;

               persons receiving services provided directly by the state department in a state-operated facility or in a vulnerable person's home or residence; and

               juveniles in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections in DHS.

            Contract Positions — The executive director of DHS or the executive director's designee is required to designate those contract positions that involve direct contact with vulnerable persons that will be subject to criminal background checks and the bill's requirements; and requires that any contract made by DHS with a person for a designated contract position shall include terms and conditions, similar to those imposed on state employees, requiring criminal background checks, self-reporting requirements, and suspension and termination for persons who commit disqualifying criminal offenses.

            Provisions for Disqualification from Employment — The bill disqualifies a person from employment in a position involving direct contact with vulnerable persons either as an employee or as a contract employee under the following circumstances:


               if the criminal background check indicates that the person was convicted of, adjudicated for, pled guilty to, or received a deferred sentence or deferred adjudication for a specified disqualifying felony offense;

               if the person has been convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses within 10 years prior to application, but allows the person to request a reconsideration of disqualification and review of whether the person poses a risk of harm to vulnerable persons;

               if the person was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent as a result of commission of the disqualifying offense and more than 7 years have passed since the commission of the offense, allows the person to request a reconsideration of disqualification and review of whether the person poses a risk of harm to vulnerable persons; and

               makes the disqualification provision an exception to the statute that prohibits denying public employment based upon a conviction of a felony or other offense involving moral turpitude (the disqualifying offenses specified in the bill are offenses that involve moral turpitude).

            Review of Disqualification from Employment — The bill sets forth standards for review of whether a person poses a risk of harm to vulnerable persons, and permits a person to request a review of the disqualification if there is a mistake of fact involving the person's identity.

            Employee Requirements and Additional Requirements of DHS — The bill requires an employee in a position involving direct contact with vulnerable persons to report to his or her supervisor if he or she is arrested, charged with, or served a summons for an offense that disqualifies one from employment; and provides that failure to make such a report may be cause for termination. DHS is required to suspend the employee until the criminal charges are resolved or administrative action is completed if the offense involves a disqualifying felony offense. An employee charged with a disqualifying misdemeanor offense may be suspended at the discretion of DHS until the criminal charges are resolved or administrative action is completed. An employee must be terminated if he or she is convicted of or pleads guilty to a disqualifying offense.

            Self-Reporting — As amended, provides that the bill does not preclude DHS from adopting a policy of self-reporting of arrests, charges, or summonses or a policy regarding disqualification from employment including additional offenses.

State Revenues

            As amended by the House Finance Committee, March 24,1999, the cash funds revenue impact of the bill is eliminated. DHS, through existing appropriations, will pay the cost of criminal background checks. It is assumed that DHS will either use moneys appropriated to its personal services line items or hold positions vacant to pay the cost of criminal background checks required in the bill.

State Expenditures

            Department of Human Services — As amended, the bill makes the definition of "direct contact" permissive, thereby reducing the number of criminal background checks DHS anticipates performing. DHS will not require any added appropriation to comply with the bill's provisions, although it may require a shift in resources.

            Current Practice. DHS currently allocates portions of approximately 2.5 FTE to collect name checks and fingerprint information from the Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for the Division of Youth Corrections and the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. Under current law the submission of fingerprints is discretionary, however, the Division of Youth Corrections has a policy to do a name and fingerprint check for all employees. Although the bill will result in 680 added background checks, DHS indicates that it will consolidate portions of 2.5 FTE into 2.5 actual positions in a single unit dedicated to performing required background checks on prospective employees. This consolidation will provide greater efficiency and allow the department to meet the increased workload within existing appropriations. Additionally, DHS will place the burden of proof on applicants to contact county courts to collect information on dispositions when a fingerprint check requires additional investigation.

            The initial fiscal note included a one-time cost of $62,400 in FY 1999-00 for contractual services to develop an automated system (1,040 hours @ $60/hour = $62,400) to track CBI/FBI requests, monitor decisions of appointing authorities, track costs, provide reports to management, and ensure accountability of the background check process. DHS indicates that although the system would be advantageous, the bill's requirements can be met without the system. Should DHS choose to develop a system, it is assumed it will be done within existing resources.

            Department of Public Safety — will require $21,112 and 0.1 FTE in FY 1999-00 and $21,037 and 0.1 FTE in FY 2000-01 to comply with the bill's provisions. The department will require 0.1 FTE Fingerprint Examiner I to process 680 additional fingerprint cards annually. Personal services and operating costs are identified at $3,820 in FY 1999-00 and $3,745 in FY 2000-01. The department will require $972 for CICC operating costs associated with the fingerprint checks ($1.43/check x 680 = $972). Additionally the department will require FBI spending authority of $16,320 (680 fingerprints x $24 = $16,320). According to the State Controller, the department must show pass-through fees to the FBI as program income and expense.

Local Government Impact

            The bill states the intent of the General Assembly that any local agency or service provider working with vulnerable persons is strongly encouraged to investigate its employment applicants in a similar fashion. Therefore, the fiscal note does not reflect costs associated with conducting background investigations for employees in DHS community-based programs: county departments of social services; community center boards; or community mental health centers.

State Appropriations

            The fiscal note indicates that for FY 1999-00, the Department of Public Safety should receive a cash funds exempt appropriation of $21,112 and 0.1 FTE.

Departments Contacted

            Human Services


            Public Safety