SB209 would make volunteering easier in Utah through background registry

By Aaron Hastings
Capital West News

SALT LAKE CITY – Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, is sponsoring a bill in conjunction with efforts from the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism to create a volunteer registry, which should make volunteering easier in the state of Utah.

“We tend to be a trusting society and we’ve had increasing need and numbers of background checks for people who serve as volunteers,” said Dayton, “I understand the safety of that.”

The goal of SB209 is to keep track of volunteers’ background checks to avoid multiple costly background checks for every volunteer at every service event.

Organizations like the Boy Scouts of America or BYU’s Center for Service and Learning would be able to search the registry for volunteers and find those who have already received a positive background check.

Such a program would be especially convenient to those who volunteer often, including students in service programs or parents who volunteer at their children’s schools.

“These are background checks that the volunteers usually have to pay for,” said Dayton. She expressed hope that through the registry, volunteers could avoid paying as much to do service.

Dayton emphasized that the program would be optional for volunteers, and would simply serve as a convenience both to volunteers and to organizations looking for volunteers that meet their criteria.

“My disappointment in it is I hope we don’t get to the point where nobody can be a volunteer unless they have a volunteer card,” said Dayton.

SB209 was presented to the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee, which reported favorably on the bill. The bill is on the Senate second reading calendar to appear on the Senate floor.

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