Sen. Witkos Disappointed in Labor Committee for Taking No Action on Criminal Background Check Bill

May 12, 2015

Hartford – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), Ranking Member of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, released the following statement regarding the state Labor Committee’s inaction on Senate Bill 861 An Act Concerning Criminal History Records Checks and Discipline of Faculty Members of Institutions of Higher Education.

“I’m disappointed that the Labor Committee chose to take no action on this bill today. This legislation is about protecting our students. Indiscretions by professors should not be ignored. The proposed legislation received bipartisan support in two other legislative committees. To not even take a vote on the bill is unacceptable,” said Witkos.

SB 861 received bipartisan votes in both the Committee on Public Safety and Security and Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement. The proposed legislation would allow for criminal history records checks of faculty members at state universities and colleges being considered for a promotion and give these institutions the ability to discipline a faculty member for criminal conduct while employed by a state school.

Recent events led the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee to draft this legislation, including a situation in which a professor was promoted at a state school while serving jail time after repeatedly breaking the law and another incident in which a state university faculty member was convicted of sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled woman.

“The proposed legislation aims to promote accountability at our state institutions of higher education. This bill seeks to establish important procedures to protect the integrity of state colleges and universities and do what is in the best interest of Connecticut students. I am not giving up on this bill. I believe there is strong support for this bill in the state legislature among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. It deserves to be heard on the floor of the Senate and deserves a vote.”