In news about student background checks, on March 27, 2013, the Texas state Senate passed SB 147, which would allow public colleges to conduct background checks on students who apply to live in on-campus housing. Under the bill, colleges and universities could gain access to Texas Department of Public Safety files for criminal background checks.

The legislation gives the colleges the authority to conduct student background screening, but does not require a college to do it. And as noted, the bill only applies to public colleges and universities.

An article in the Houston Chronicle states, “The Texas Department of Public Safety manages a website that compiles pending charges against someone from any county in the state, but that information is not available to college administrators under existing state law. SB 146 would change that.” The bill would allow the college police chief or housing director to have access to the site.

Prior to the bill being signed and become law, it must pass in the Texas House.