OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate approved legislation Monday to protect seniors living in nursing homes from sexual predators. Senate Bill 369, by Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, would prohibit long-term care facilities from employing anyone on the Juvenile Sex Offender Registry or who has been convicted of human trafficking.
“This legislation closes an extremely dangerous loophole that has allowed those who were convicted of sexual crimes as minors to be hired to work with our most vulnerable adults in long-term care centers, many who are physically or mentally unable to protect themselves,” Garvin said. “This bill will ensure that no sex offenders, regardless of their age, nor human traffickers are able to work in nursing homes or other similar centers. We must make sure our long-term care facilities know exactly who is applying and being able to thoroughly check their criminal records and backgrounds while also providing them with legal protection by putting this in statute.”
Currently, the Juvenile Sex Offender Registry is closed to the public due to it including the information of minors. SB 369 would grant long-term care facilities access to the registry to properly vet prospective employees. The bill also decreases the time period that nurse aides may be precluded from employment by such facilities for nonviolent offenses from seven to five years.
“In most other states, employers at nursing homes are only able to look back two to three years on a nonviolent offender’s record during their background search but in Oklahoma, employers aren’t allowed to hire these individuals until seven years after their sentence ends,” Garvin said. “This will bring Oklahoma more in line with surrounding states and not keep such individuals from pursuing employment in these types of facilities for longer than necessary.”
SB 369 now moves to the House where Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, is the principal House author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Garvin: (405) 521-5522 or Jessica.Garvin@oksenate.gov