Background Checks Considered for Del. Officials - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Background Checks Considered for Del. Officials


DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - There's been a lot of talk about background checks in Delaware this year. But, until now, it has been connected to gun purchases.

A new proposal focuses on candidates running for state, county and city office.  The bill would require them to submit to a criminal background check when they file to run.

Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, says the idea for the bill actually came out of the fallout from the Dr. Earl Bradley case.

"A lot of background checks were implemented for people in the health care field. Some of my friends in that field were asking who is required to get a background check and who isn't required. One that stood out as not having to get a background check was those of running for public office."

P. Brooks Banta has held elected offices across lower Delaware for almost 50 years. Currently the Democrat is president of Kent County Levy Court.

"For me it's the thing that should be done. I have no problem with that, nor should any elected official," said Banta.

Unlike other background checks, this check would become public information through the Office of the State Election Commissioner.

"If perchance, they don't make it," he said. "Because of some situation that occurred in their life time, then they shouldn't be elected. If they were distrustful once, they certainly could be again," said Banta.

"They can explain it. We're not saying they can't run," Short said. "We're saying you have to have a background check. You're going to sign the waiver. You'll have the background check. And it will be made public."   

Short says the point here is to set an example.  "I think it makes good sense, makes good government. It makes us adhere to some of the same rules we're imposing on others."

This proposal came out just after the Delaware House of Representatives passed the bill requiring background checks for private gun sales. Short says his bill has been in the works for a while, and the timing is coincidental.

A spokesman for House Democrats says they haven't seen the bill yet but will take a look at it.

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