Bill Requiring Licensed Professionals to Report Criminal Charges, Convictions to NY SED Dies in Assembly

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 16, 2016
InspectorThe NY State Assembly proposed a bill that would have required licensed professionals to inform the NY State Department of Education of any pending criminal charges or convictions if the bill had passed into law, according to Pro Publica, but it failed to gain the support it needed before the end of the current legislative session. They would have also needed to report any charges of professional misconduct in any jurisdiction, as well as any adverse actions undertaken by a hospital, institution or employer as a result of their professional duties. 

Once the SED has this information, according to the bill, it could then refer the licensed individual to the professional conduct officer for possible disciplinary action. The legislation would have also required that if a license holder is convicted of a crime, then the district attorney needs to report this to the SED, where the commissioner will then determine whether that individual is of "good moral character." This determination is important because the bill also requires that all license holders be of "good moral character as determined by the department." 

The commissioner would also have had greater discretion to suspend license holders, if it is believed that their conduct represents an imminent danger to the health or safety of the people, and that delaying action would appear prejudicial to the interests of the people. In these cases, the commissioner could have suspend someone's license for up to 90 days, with hearings to be scheduled no more than 10 days after the suspension has begun. 

Though the bill would have affected every license holder in New York, Pro Publica said it was constructed specifically with nurses in mind. The article noted that, despite expanded powers, the bill did not permit the department to conduct criminal background checks on licensees, meaning New York remains one out of only 13 states that do not do this. The Senate version of the bill had mandated criminal background checks, conducted at the licensee's expense, but protest from non-medical professional organizations led to the provision being dropped, said Pro Publica. 

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