Provided to InternetDatingConference.com courtesy of the California State Legislature
BILL NUMBER: AB 1681 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Members Pavley, Bermudez, and Negrete McLeod
FEBRUARY 22, 2005
An act to add Chapter 33 (commencing with Section 22948) to
Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to online
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 1681, as introduced, Pavley. Online relationship services.
Existing law provides for the regulation of various businesses.
This bill would require online relationship service providers, as defined, to either conduct criminal background checks for each member using the service before allowing that person to communicate with another person through the service or disclose to all Web site visitors residing in the state that the provider has not conducted criminal background checks. The bill would authorize the Attorney General to bring an action for a violation of these provisions, and would make a provider that violates these provisions guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $250 for each day the violation continues. The bill would exempt a provider that conducts criminal background checks in compliance with these provisions from civil liability for the actions of its members.
Because this bill would make the failure to meet specified requirements a crime, it would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 33 (commencing with Section 22948) is added to Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code , to read:
CHAPTER 33. ONLINE RELATIONSHIP SERVICES
22948. (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply: (1) "Communicate" means to directly contact a person, through an online relationship service provider, in writing using the electronic transmission of free form text or using real-time voice communication.
(2) "Criminal background check" means a search of a person's felony and sexual offense convictions through a regularly updated system or other collection of public records operated and maintained in the United States with substantial national coverage and more than 170 million criminal and sexual offender records.
(3) "Member" means any person who is either a member or who submits a profile or other information for the purpose of dating, matrimonial, or social referral services to a particular online relationship service provider.
(4) "Online relationship service provider" or "provider" means a person or entity engaged, directly or indirectly, in the business, for profit, of offering, promoting, or providing access to dating, relationship, compatibility, matrimonial, or social referral services principally on or through their Web site or otherwise through the Internet.
(b) Anonline relationship service provider that provides services to residents of the state shall do one of the following:
(1) Conduct a criminal background check for each member using the
online relationship service before allowing that person to communicate with another person through the online relationship service.
(2) Disclose prominently to all Web site visitors residing in the state that the online relationship service provider has not conducted criminal background checks on its members or other persons using its service.
(c) If the provider conducts criminal background checks pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), the provider shall provide the following additional disclosure information through a readily accessible link on the provider's home page:
(1) A description of the criminal background check database used by the provider and, if the provider uses a private vendor to conduct the criminal background check, a readily accessible link to the page on the vendor's Web site that describes the contents of its database.
(2) An acknowledgment that criminal background checks are supplemental information for the member and should not be considered a substitute for reasonable precaution whenever meeting another person.
(3) An acknowledgment that only felony convictions and not arrests are covered by the criminal background check.
(4) An acknowledgment that a person can commit crimes without ever having a prior criminal conviction.
(5) A description of additional safety measures reasonably designed to increase awareness of safer dating practices.
(6) A statement clearly declaring whether or not the provider excludes from its Web site all persons identified as having a conviction for a felony or sexual offense.
(d) If the provider chooses to disclose that it does not conduct a criminal background check pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), the disclosure shall meet all of the following requirements:
(1) The prominent disclosure shall appear to all Web site visitors residing in the state in the following locations:
(A) On the provider's home page and on all other pages where visitors or members are likely to first enter the provider's Web site.
(B) On the profile page for each member whose profile is shown to residents of this state and for whom the provider has not conducted a criminal background check.
(C) At the beginning of all electronic mail messages sent or received by communicating members residing in the state.
(2) For the provider's home page for each visitor from the state, the disclosure shall take the following form: "WARNING: (NAME OF PROVIDER) HAS NOT CONDUCTED FELONY OR SEXUAL OFFENSE BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ITS MEMBERS."
(3) For the profile page of each member shown to each visitor from the state, and on all electronic mail sent by communicating members to members of the state that go through the provider's service, the disclosure shall take the following form: "WARNING: (NAME OF PROVIDER) HAS NOT CONDUCTED FELONY OR SEXUAL OFFENSE BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THIS INDIVIDUAL."
(4) The disclosure shall be in bold, capital letters in at least 12-point type and in clear contrast to the surrounding background, and shall be located within three inches of the top of each relevant Web page or electronic mail message.
(e) If the provider chooses not to exclude a person with a felony or sexual offense conviction, the provider shall prominently display on the profile page of that person and on all electronic mail from that person that go through the provider's service, when shown or sent to a member of this state, the following notice, consistent with the requirements of paragraph (4) of subdivision (d): "WARNING: THIS PERSON HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED THROUGH OUR CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK TO HAVE A PRIOR FELONY OR SEXUAL OFFENSE CONVICTION.
(f) A provider shall update the criminal background check for each member at least once every 90 days.
(g) A provider that violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) for each day that the requirements of this section are not met. If the provider fails to meet the requirements of this section for any of its members or visitors, each failure shall constitute a separate violation for each member or visitor for whom the required disclosure is not provided. The Attorney General may bring an action against a provider that has violated this section.
(h) A provider that conducts criminal background checks in compliance with the provisions of this section shall not be subject to civil liability on the basis of the actions of one or more of its members.
No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.