The Board was established by Laws 1998, Chapter 270, with an effective date of July 1, 1999. Statutory authority for the Board is found at A.R.S. §§41-619.51 et seq. Administrative rules are found at A.A.C. R13-11-101 et seq.
Certain state employers require a criminal history background check to verify that a person is eligible to work with vulnerable populations (generally children and the elderly). The Fingerprinting Division of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducts a background check upon receipt of an application, and based on the results, makes a determination whether to issue a fingerprint clearance card (A.R.S. §41-1758.01).
The Board was established to provide an opportunity for an applicant who is denied a fingerprint clearance card to request a good cause exception or a central registry exception hearing. Statute provides two categories of offenses. The first lists those offenses that preclude a person from receiving a fingerprint clearance card. If the background check indicates the person has committed an offense on that list, the person is not eligible to apply for a good cause exception. The second lists those offenses that preclude issuance of a fingerprint clearance card, but allows the applicant to request a Board hearing.
The Board consists of six members. One member is selected by each of the following agencies: Arizona Supreme Court; Department of Economic Security; Department of Education; Department of Health Services; Department of Juvenile Corrections; and Department of Child Safety. Board members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
An interagency task force worked for several years to address fingerprinting and background checks conducted by separate state agencies. Laws 1998, Chapter 270 standardized laws regarding fingerprinting background checks conducted by five state agencies. The law revised the process for conducting background checks; created a new division within the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS); established criteria for DPS to conduct background checks; and established a fingerprint clearance card system in order to issue credentials for a person to work with children or other vulnerable populations.
The Board of Fingerprinting was established in order to develop rules for administering the fingerprinting program and to provide a person who was denied a fingerprint clearance card an opportunity to apply for a good cause exception. The law transferred monies and full-time equivalent (FTEs) to DPS from the Department of Health Services, Department of Juvenile Corrections, Department of Economic Security and Department of Education. A second measure was enacted in 1998, authorizing DPS to charge a fingerprint processing fee for noncriminal justice state agencies (Laws 1998, Chapter 75).
Since the Board’s creation, a number of legislative enactments have modified the list of persons who are required to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. The offenses considered during a background check have been modified several times as well.
Laws 1999, Chapter 316 addressed implementation issues identified by participating state agencies and extended the effective date from July 1, 1999 to August 16, 1999.
Laws 2000, Chapter 251 modified certain Board procedures and addressed implementation issues identified by participating state agencies.
Laws 2001, Chapter 350 modified the list of offenses that result in denial or suspension of a fingerprint clearance card.
Laws 2002, Fifth Special Session, Chapter 4 required all charter school personnel who engage in instructional work to obtain a fingerprint clearance card.
Laws 2003, Chapter 214 eliminated the distinction between a class 1 and a class 2 fingerprint clearance card; required the Board to establish fees; to hire a hearing officer to conduct good cause exception hearings; and that a Board decision to grant a good cause exception be unanimous.
Laws 2004, Chapter 63 required child protective services workers to obtain a fingerprint clearance card.
Laws 2005, Chapter 246 required prospective adoptive parents, foster parents, adult home licensees and all DES employees who have contact with children or vulnerable adults to obtain a valid fingerprint clearance card. The law also required the Board to report the number of good cause exceptions requests and the number of good cause exceptions granted per year. A copy of the report had to be provided to the Governor and Legislature each year, by December 1.
Laws 2006, Chapter 133 required Department of Economic Security (DES) employees holding an information technology position to obtain a valid fingerprint clearance card.
Laws 2007, Chapter 95 allowed, rather than required, the Board to appoint a hearing officer to conduct good cause exception hearings. The law expanded the list of offenses that preclude a person from receiving a fingerprint clearance card and modified the list of offenses that allow a person to request a good cause exception. Other legislation enacted in 2007 required the following persons to obtain a fingerprint clearance card: Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) employees who worked with minors as part of Project Challenge; nursing care institution administrators; assisted living facility managers; health science students; and clinical assistants participating in a graduate program. See Laws 2007, Chapter 196 and Laws 2007, Chapter 205.
Laws 2008, Chapter 173 modified several provisions relating to the Board. The law required the Board to determine the outcome of a good cause exception hearing, rather than allowing the hearing officer to make the determination. It also eliminated the requirement for a Board decision to be unanimous and instead required a majority of the Board members to grant a good cause exception. Board members and Board personnel were required to obtain a valid fingerprint clearance card. Other legislation enacted in 2008 required DEMA employees, including those working with minors in Project Challenge, to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. See Laws 2008, chapter 300.
Laws 2009, Chapter 8 added the requirement that all adult members of the household of foster parents, prospective foster parents, and adoptive parents obtain a fingerprint clearance. The law also added two crimes to offenses that preclude a person from receiving a fingerprint clearance card. Other legislation enacted in 2009 required school superintendents, school contractors, subcontractors and vendors to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. See Laws 2009, Chapter 75 and Laws 2009, Third Special Session, Chapter 12, Section 49.
Laws 2010, Chapter 166 required a licensed realtor to obtain a fingerprint clearance card.
Laws 2012, Chapter 188 authorized the Board to conduct a central registry exception hearing (similar in concept to a good cause exception hearing) for a person who is disqualified from employment based on the results of the central registry background check. The Central Registry is a database containing information on substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect. The database is maintained by DES and is confidential. Certain persons (contractors, subcontractors, their employees and child care workers) are subject to a central registry background check, as required by DES. In 2013, driver instructors who work for professional driver training schools and owners of traffic survival schools were added to the list of persons who are required to obtain a fingerprint clearance card (Laws 2013, Chapter 128 and Chapter 129).
Laws 2014, Second Special Session, Chapter 1 abolished Child Protective Services (CPS) and created the Department of Child Safety as a stand-alone agency. CPS had been part of DES and the law transferred duties and responsibilities to the new agency. The law contained extensive conforming changes, including modifications to Board statutes, in order to acknowledge the new agency.
Laws 2017, Chapter 24 modified fingerprint requirements for specific health care personnel and volunteers who provide services: 1) in a children’s behavioral health program; or 2) to residents or patients in a residential care or nursing care institution. The measure provided exemptions from fingerprinting requirements and the requirement to obtain interim approval from the Board, to a person who provides services to residents or patients while under the direct supervision of an owner or employee who holds a valid fingerprint clearance card. The measure also provided other specific exemptions for family members and for those persons who do not work in an area of a hospital that provides children’s behavioral health services.
A second measure enacted in 2017 required school bus drivers to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. Prior statute required an applicant to submit fingerprints to the Arizona Department of Public Safety only for purposes of conducting a background check but did not require a fingerprint clearance card. The measure included transition language for school bus drivers who were certified as of the effective date of the act. See Laws 2017, chapter 196.
Arizona Revised Statutes §§41-619.51 et seq. and §§41-1758.01 et seq.
Arizona Administrative Code §§R13-11-101 et seq.
- Laws 1998, Chapter 75 and Chapter 270
- Laws 1999, Chapter 316
- Laws 2000, Chapter 251
- Laws 2001, Chapter 350
- Laws 2002, Fifth Special Session, Chapter 4
- Laws 2003, Chapter 214
- Laws 2004, Chapter 63
- Laws 2005, Chapter 246
- Laws 2006, Chapter 133
- Laws 2007, Chapter 95; Chapter 196 and Chapter 205
- Laws 2008, Chapter 173 and Chapter 300
- Laws 2009, Chapter 8 and Chapter 75
- Laws 2009, Third Special Session, Chapter 12, Section 49
- Laws 2010, Chapter 166
- Laws 2012, Chapter 188
- Laws 2013, Chapter 128 and Chapter 129
- Laws 2014, Second Special Session, Chapter 1, Section 120
- Laws 2017, Chapter 24 and Chapter 196
Master List of State Programs
Arizona Board of Fingerprinting Performance Audit, No. 07-01. Arizona Auditor General, 2007.
Arizona Board of Fingerprinting: 36-Month Follow-Up Report. Arizona Auditor General, March 10, 2010.
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 152 – Department of Public Safety