Blog

 
     

U.S. Senators Wants Terror Watch List Checks for Mass Transit Employees

By Michael Klazema on 12/19/2016
Per recent reports, a pair of United States Senators wants to revise nationwide policies regarding mass transit employee background checks. After 9/11, all aspects of air travel were tightened and made more secure, including employee background checks. Similar regulations never trickled down to other transportation industries, including rail and bus transit.

New York’s Charles Schumer and New Jersey’s Cory Booker are leading the charge to change that fact. Per an article from NJ.com, Schumer recently went on record with the belief that all passenger bus drivers and commuter train workers should be required to go through more in-depth background screenings. These screening, he said, should include checks against terrorist watch lists.

Per a report from CBS New York, Schumer is not the first person to recommend such a policy shift for rail and bus operators. In 2007, the 9/11 Commission recommended that rail and bus transit employees have their names and aliases checked against terrorist watch lists. Despite the recommendation, there was never any legislative requirement to force train companies or mass transit companies to add a terrorist watch list step to their employee background check processes, coverage notes.

As background check professionals have explained, terrorist watch list data isn’t the type of information that would be pulled in a standard county or state criminal background check. An alias search or a background check run through a nationwide or multijurisdictional database would be more likely to include information gleaned from terrorist watch lists. CBS New York contacted major rail transit companies, including Amtrak and MTA. Neither transit firms would say outright whether their employee background checks incorporated data from terror lists.

Because of recent incidents in Europe, Schumer and Booker are both particularly concerned about the state of railway security in the United States. In March, an attack on a three-carriage train at a Brussels metro station killed 20 people.

The Department of Homeland Security and TSA appear to have been looking at requiring terrorist watch list checks for mass transit employees. The CBS New York report says that there is currently “an action pending to require the screenings.” There is no indication for when this “action” could become a nationwide rule. As reports note, Schumer and Booker are pushing for the two government departments to move a bit faster so that they can finalize the rule sooner rather than later.

Sources:

http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/2016/12/booker_schumer_want_transit_workers_checked_agains.html

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/12/12/transit-workers-terror-watch-list/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Brussels_bombings

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • January 11 — A firefighter in Tacoma, Washington died last summer of a drug overdose. A local newspaper is looking at the interview and screening process breakdowns that might have led to his hiring.
  • January 09 — “Ban the box” legislation has rapidly spread across the country, emerging as city or county ordinances and even as statewide laws. Now, however, an Indiana State Senator wants to ban “ban the box” ordinances in the state.
  • January 05 — Little League International, the organization behind Little League Baseball and Softball programs around the world, has instituted a new background check rule for United States programs. Under the new rule, all affiliated U.S. leagues will be required to run criminal background screenings on their volunteers.
  • January 03 — Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor has approved a law that gives animal shelters in the state the power to run background checks on potential pet adopters. The goal of the legislation is to keep pets out of the hands of known animal abusers.
  • December 29 — The State of Maryland has decided against new regulations that would have added fingerprint background checks and ongoing criminal monitoring for ridesharing companies. Such regulations would have made Maryland the first state to mandate fingerprint checks for ride-hailing services.
  • December 21 — The Department of Transportation is creating a new database to track drug and alcohol infractions for truckers and other commercial drivers. Employers will be required to report infractions to the database and run searches when filling positions that require a commercial driver’s license.
  • December 20 — The Mayor of Los Angeles recently signed into law an initiative that bans the box for private employers. The law also forces private employers to follow an eight-point list of considerations recommended by the EEOC before making any adverse employment decisions based on criminal history.
  • December 19 — In 2007, the 9/11 commission recommended terrorist watch list checks for mass transit employees, including rail and bus workers. That recommendation never became an official rule, but two U.S. Senators are pushing for deeper background checks for all mass transit employees.
  • December 13 — The University of Minnesota has elected to “ban the box” and remove about criminal history from its student admission applications. Prospective students will still be expected to self-disclose past sex offenses or academic dishonesty issues.
  • December 11 — A bus driver in Chattanooga, Tennessee recently crashed his bus into a tree, killing six children and injuring dozens more. The driver had been the subject of numerous complaints in the months and weeks leading up to the tragic incident.