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Ban on Credit Reports on New Hires Backed by Senate Committee

January 14, 2013 - 6:00pm

A bill that would prohibit most employers from using credit scores on new hires got the full backing of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Proponents see the effort as a means to eliminate a Catch 22: You cant improve your credit score because you dont have a job, yet you cant get a job because of your bad credit score.

Still, banning such background checks has by no means a clear run through the Legislature.

A year ago a similar measure, SB 102, died in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, while the House companion bill failed to get through the Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee.

And so far this year, no House companion bill has been filed.

But the sponsor of Senate Bill 100, Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, sees the legislation as a jobs creator.

I think thats dirty pool unless youre dealing with money or trade secrets, said Detert, who chairs the Commerce and Tourism Committee.

We have more people today with bad credit than ever before and we dont think if you made a late payment to JCPenney it should prohibit you from getting a job, Detert said.

For most jobs your employer doesnt need to see your credit report unless he is a bank or youre in an administrative position where youre subject to confidentiality agreements. There are enough exemptions in this bill to make everybody happy.

Other exemptions wouldnt supersede state or federal law, and would allow credit reports for managerial and supervisory positions, law enforcement, or when the job is within a financial institution.

While voting in favor of the bill, Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, expressed concern that the prohibition could scare some businesses from relocating to Florida.

Im a banker by training and this was an integral part, before we hired somebody, to make sure they were of sound character, Bean said. If Im locating a business, its just another tool I can use to make sure people working for me are of the highest (quality)."

Reach Jim Turner at or at (772) 215-9889.

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