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Rhode Island Bill Seeks Background Checks for Church Workers


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Church employees or volunteers whose work involves routine contact with children could be required to submit to a national criminal background check, if asked, under legislation approved by the General Assembly.

Both legislative chambers approved the legislation and sent it Thursday to the desk of Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, who could sign or veto it.

It's sponsored by Barrington Democrats, Sen. Cynthia Coyne and Rep. Jason Knight. They say it could help churches and other religious institutions protect children from people with a history of abuse or other dangerous crimes.

It was introduced as a result of the 2015 arrest of a religious educator at Temple Habonim in Barrington in a child pornography sweep.

It would be up to the religious organization to decide whether to ask for a check.

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