BILL NUMBER: AB 1681	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


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
services.



	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.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. 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) An online 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.
  SEC. 2.
  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.