Bill would simplify background checks

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Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) has introduced H.R. 1079, the Professional Driver Background Check Efficiency Act, in response to the current hazardous materials background check procedures that cause professional drivers a substantial loss of time, income and out-of-pocket expenses.

The Hazardous Material Endorsement required for professional drivers varies, but is typically $94 per driver. Carnahan’s legislation would put a $50 cap on the HME, reducing a financial burden for drivers. H.R. 1079 also would alleviate an unfunded mandate by permitting the Transportation Security Agency to reimburse states for costs incurred in connection with the background record check.

In the 109th Congress, Carnahan introduced H.R. 5560, which intended to reduce the duplication and bureaucracy in background checks across federal agencies. Two of the provisions were signed into law as part of the SAFE Port Act; H.R. 1079 will further progress the government’s obligation to act effectively with minimal waste, he said.

As a result of the SAFE Port Act, drivers who already have undergone and passed an HME background check are not subject to an additional check, nor will they be subjected to an additional fee. Furthermore, the SAFE Port Act provides that the Government Accountability Office should report to Congress on background checks similar to the HME background check, identify any duplicity within the systems and make recommendations for increasing efficiencies across and within agencies.

“This is a classic example of unnecessary government redundancy,” Carnahan said. “I am proud that two provisions of my previous bill have been signed into law, and I look forward to passing this bill to make government more efficient and reduce the financial burden placed on professional drivers.”