House lawmakers in Idaho rejected legislation allowing FBI background checks on some state employees.
According to the Post Register, "The bill would have authorized the department to conduct FBI fingerprint-based background checks, which include a 50-state criminal record check, citizenship verification, and local law enforcement checks everywhere the employee has lived, work or attended school in the past five years, on employees, applicants, contractors, interns and others. Those checks are required by the IRS for any employee who has access to confidential taxpayer information that taxpayers provide to the IRS when they file their taxes."
The Post Register reported that lawmaker Rep. Heather Scott, a Republican from Blanchard, argued that the bill was "federal bullying" while debating against the bill. And Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, declared, “I have a real issue with data collection being obtained in the state.”
Rep. Eric Redman, R-Athol, the House sponsor of the bill, said, “This is an immediate need to conduct checks on employees with access to taxpayers’ information.” He said the department must show by next November that it has statutory authority to conduct the FBI background checks in order to continue using the program.
According to the Post Register, failure to comply with the background check requirement could potentially jeopardize millions in federal funding that Idaho receives to administer its unemployment benefit program.