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  S.B. No. 24
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the procedures required before a law enforcement agency
  hires certain persons.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 143.089, Local Government Code, is
  amended by amending Subsection (g) and adding Subsection (h) to
  read as follows:
         (g)  A fire or police department may maintain a personnel
  file on a fire fighter or police officer employed by the department
  for the department's use.  Except as provided by Subsection (h),
  [but] the department may not release any information contained in
  the department file to any agency or person requesting information
  relating to a fire fighter or police officer. The department shall
  refer to the director or the director's designee a person or agency
  that requests information that is maintained in the fire fighter's
  or police officer's personnel file.
         (h)  As provided by Section 1701.451, Occupations Code, a law
  enforcement agency hiring a police officer is entitled to view the
  contents of the officer's personnel file maintained under
  Subsection (g).
         SECTION 2.  The heading to Subchapter J, Chapter 1701,
  Occupations Code, is amended to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER J. EMPLOYMENT RECORDS AND PREEMPLOYMENT PROCEDURE
         SECTION 3.  The heading to Section 1701.451, Occupations
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 1701.451.  PREEMPLOYMENT PROCEDURE [REQUEST FOR
  EMPLOYMENT TERMINATION REPORT AND SUBMISSION OF BACKGROUND CHECK
  CONFIRMATION FORM].
         SECTION 4.  Section 1701.451, Occupations Code, is amended
  by amending Subsections (a), (b), and (c) and adding Subsections
  (d), (e), and (f) to read as follows:
         (a)  Before a law enforcement agency may hire a person
  licensed under this chapter, the agency [head or the agency head's
  designee] must, on a form and in the manner prescribed by the
  commission:
               (1)  obtain the person's written consent for the agency
  to review the information required to be reviewed under this
  section; [make a request to the commission for any employment
  termination report regarding the person that is maintained by the
  commission under this subchapter; and]
               (2)  request from the commission and any other
  applicable person information required to be reviewed under this
  section; and
               (3)  submit to the commission confirmation that the
  agency, to the best of the agency's ability before hiring the
  person:
                     (A)  contacted each entity or individual
  necessary to obtain the information required to be reviewed under
  this section; and
                     (B)  except as provided by Subsection (b),
  obtained and reviewed as related to the person, as applicable:
                           (i)  personnel files and other employee
  records from each previous law enforcement agency employer,
  including the employment application submitted to the previous
  employer;
                           (ii)  employment termination reports
  maintained by the commission under this subchapter;
                           (iii)  service records maintained by the
  commission;
                           (iv)  proof that the person meets the
  minimum qualifications for enrollment in a training program under
  Section 1701.251(a);
                           (v)  a military veteran's United States
  Department of Defense Form DD-214 or other military discharge
  record;
                           (vi)  criminal history record information;
                           (vii)  information on pending warrants as
  available through the Texas Crime Information Center and National
  Crime Information Center;
                           (viii)  evidence of financial
  responsibility as required by Section 601.051, Transportation
  Code;
                           (ix)  a driving record from the Department
  of Public Safety;
                           (x)  proof of United States citizenship; and
                           (xi)  information on the person's background
  from at least three personal references and at least two
  professional references [submit to the commission on the form
  prescribed by the commission confirmation that the agency:
                     [(A) conducted in the manner prescribed by the
  commission a criminal background check regarding the person;
                     [(B) obtained the person's written consent on a
  form prescribed by the commission for the agency to view the
  person's employment records;
                     [(C) obtained from the commission any service or
  education records regarding the person maintained by the
  commission; and
                     [(D) contacted each of the person's previous law
  enforcement employers].
         (b)  If an entity or individual contacted for information
  required to be reviewed under this section refused to provide the
  information or did not respond to the request for information, the
  confirmation submitted to the commission must document the manner
  of the request and the refusal or lack of response [The commission
  by rule shall establish a system for verifying an electronically
  submitted request required by Subsection (a)(1)].
         (c)  If the commission or a law enforcement agency receives
  from a law enforcement agency a request for information under this
  section and the person's consent on the forms and in the manner
  prescribed by the commission [that complies with Subsections (a)(1)
  and (b)], the commission or agency [employee having the
  responsibility to maintain any employment termination report
  regarding the person who is the subject of the request] shall
  provide the information [release the report] to the requesting 
  agency.
         (d)  The confirmation form submitted to the commission under
  this section is not confidential and is subject to disclosure under
  Chapter 552, Government Code.
         (e)  The commission shall:
               (1)  by rule establish the forms and procedures
  required by this section, including:
                     (A)  the process by which a law enforcement agency
  shall make a person's employment records electronically available
  to a law enforcement agency hiring a person licensed under this
  chapter;
                     (B)  appropriate privacy and security protections
  for the process described by Paragraph (A); and
                     (C)  a rule prohibiting a confirmation form
  submitted to the commission under this section from containing
  confidential information described by Section 552.1175(b),
  Government Code, regarding the person who is the subject of the
  confirmation form;
               (2)  post the forms and procedures on the commission's
  Internet website; and
               (3)  retain a record of each confirmation form
  submitted under this section.
         (f)  The head of a law enforcement agency or the agency
  head's designee shall review and sign each confirmation form
  required under this section before submission to the commission.  
  The failure of an agency head or the agency head's designee to
  comply with this subsection constitutes grounds for suspension of
  the agency head's license under Section 1701.501.
         SECTION 5.  Section 1701.456(b), Occupations Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A law enforcement agency, agency head, or other law
  enforcement official is not liable for civil damages for:
               (1)  a report made by that agency or person if the
  report is made in good faith; or
               (2)  making a person's information available to a
  hiring law enforcement agency under Section 1701.451.
         SECTION 6.  Section 1701.451(a-1), Occupations Code, is
  repealed.
         SECTION 7.  (a) Not later than January 1, 2022, the Texas
  Commission on Law Enforcement shall adopt the rules necessary to
  implement Section 1701.451, Occupations Code, as amended by this
  Act.
         (b)  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to the
  hiring of a person by a law enforcement agency that occurs on or
  after January 1, 2022. The hiring of a person by a law enforcement
  agency that occurs before that date is governed by the law in effect
  immediately before the effective date of this Act, and the former
  law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 24 passed the Senate on    
  March 31, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 28, 2021, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 24 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 24, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 144,
  Nays 0, one present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor