HB 494: Georgia Fingerprint Legislation Update


H.B. 494 sponsored by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) was passed out of the House Education Subcommittee on Academic Support on Wednesday afternoon. This legislation brings Georgia into compliance with federal fingerprint law so that Georgia is not at risk of losing federal funding for CAPS.

Here are a few points to help you understand the legislation:

  • It allows a judge to accept hearsay (second hand) testimony to when DECAL brings an emergency closure action or the emergency placement of a monitor in a center
  • It adds 10 additional misdemeanors to the crimes covered by the fingerprint check including:
    • Battery when the victim is a minor
    • Causing a minor to be infected with HIV
    • Cruelty to Children
    • Centers knowingly hiring convicted felons
    • Failure to report sexual exploitation of children
    • Providing obscene / pornographic material to children
    • Computer or electronic pornography exploitation of children
    • Obscene contact via telephone with a minor
    • DUI with a minor in the car
    • Failure of mandated reporters to report abuse

In addition to the one year portability limit on fingerprint background checks, it also includes the federal language which says “should an employee be out of the early childhood education field for more than six months, a new fingerprint check (just state and federal – not the multi-state check for employees who have lived outside Georgia in the last 5 years) is required.”

To read the current version of H.B. 494 in its entirety, click here.