Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have teamed up once again to introduce legislation involving background checks. But the bill they're working on probably won't infuriate the National Rifle Association as much as their stymied effort last year to strengthen background checks for gun sales.
In a Wednesday Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed, Toomey and Manchin said they will push a requirement that any school receiving federal funds must perform background checks on all existing and new employees, including contractors.
"We would ban the horrifying practice of a school letting a child predator quietly resign and move along to a new school, a practice so common it has its own moniker — 'passing the trash,'" the senators wrote.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act in February. A House version passed in October.
Manchin and Toomey's inspiration for the bill was the 1997 rape and murder of a 12-year-old student in West Virginia by a teacher who had been previously fired from a Pennsylvania school for molesting a student.
In addition to requiring background checks, the bill would standardize the way the checks are conducted. There is currently no national standard for how schools receiving federal funds perform background checks on employees. The Government Accountability Office issued a report in January pointing out that 46 states have some form of criminal background check requirement, but the methods of the checks vary.