Back in June we were gearing up for the new identifier redaction policy that was to go into effect in Michigan on July 1st. This policy would have caused dates of birth to be redacted from court records before those records could be provided to the public. It would also have prohibited court clerks from using date of birth in searches and from verbally verifying dates of birth.
The Michigan State Supreme Court pushed the implementation date to January 1, 2022. However, there is a small number of courts in Michigan that will either not respond to requests or will only respond with limited Personally Identifiable Information (PII) information.
While Michigan has postponed implementation, the state of California has moved ahead with redacting dates of birth, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers from public court records. This change has removed the information not only from the records online, but also from the records which are accessible from the court public access terminals.
As if this change will not make things difficult enough, it is possible that clerk assistance with providing full dates of birth will cease in the courts. This has already begun in Los Angeles County. Obtaining criminal record checks in California will become more difficult as the redaction process moves forward, and if more courts stop clerk assistance, obtaining those checks could become an impossible task.
ASE is a member of the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). The PBSA has been working, along with many other organizations, to submit filings to the California Supreme Court asking the court to review the decision. The court denied the review. However, the PBSA has a Government Relations Date-of-Birth Redaction Task Force, and they are still working on other ways to resolve the matter.
If you are an employer with locations in California, you will see longer delays in criminal record checks or checks that cannot be completed. So, what can you do? Employers in California should contact the California Supreme Court, the Governor, and their state representatives to convey their concerns and to share how their business will be negatively impacted by the change. As the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The more employers who squeak, the more the courts will have to pay attention.
ASE will continue to follow updates in Michigan and in California regarding these changes, and what progress the PBSA and the organizations with which they work are able to make in this matter. We will share pertinent updates as they become available.