CASE is pleased to announce that we have successfully negotiated an agreement with the State in which each department employing Unit 2 members will pay for the new fingerprinting requirement mandated by the State Bar. After the State Bar enacted the regulation requiring new fingerprints for all active attorneys, the State initially changed its Human Resources Manual to specifically exclude payment of the special fee and require all state employed attorneys and judges to pay their own fees. CASE demanded that the State meet and confer over the issue. We ultimately prevailed in convincing the State to cover the cost of the fingerprinting fee for all Unit 2 attorneys and judges where active state bar membership is a condition of employment. CASE argued that the fingerprinting is required to maintain the right to practice law and should be considered a one-time special dues payment rather than a fee that is voluntarily incurred such as the Justice Gap Fund.
For those of you unaware of the details of the fingerprinting requirement, we encourage you to visit the State Bar website for details about your obligations at this link: calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Attorney-Regulation/Fingerprinting-Rule-Requirements. In summary, all active attorneys licensed in California must be re-fingerprinted so that the Bar can monitor both past and subsequent criminal history information. The deadline for completion is April 30, 2019, but reminder notices will begin going out as early as August 6, 2018. Once all the details for each department are released, CASE encourages all members to complete the fingerprinting as soon as possible to ensure there is no interruption in your ability to practice law.
All attorneys licensed in California will be charged two separate fees. For Unit 2 members, the State has agreed to pay for both fees as follows. The first fee is the print “rolling” fee (aka LiveScan). This can be done by a variety of public and private vendors and there are links on the State Bar webpage that have dozens of vendors in all the major metropolitan areas. You can also search for vendors in your geographic area here: oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations. According to the bar, the rolling fees range from as low as $5, to as high as $75, with the average being $33 according to the Bar. The State has agreed to reimburse Unit 2 members up to $35 for this fee, meaning our members will be encouraged to use the lower-cost vendors. The second fee is a flat $49 to pay for background check and ongoing monitoring by DOJ and FBI. The State will fully reimburse for this fee.
Note that procedures will vary among departments. For some departments (perhaps the majority), members will be expected to contact a vendor of their choice and submit for reimbursement of both fees. Other departments may contract with vendors and have them come to the workplace to roll/scan everyone’s prints. While our members at those departments will be encouraged to be at the office on the day or days that the printing occurs, those who cannot be present can still go to their own private vendor and seek reimbursement up to $35. In either case, the State will still pay the $49 fee, although some departments will do so directly and others will reimburse our members. Full details will be forthcoming soon from each department.
Please note that without the strong voice provided by Voting Members and mandatory fee payers, negotiations like this would not be possible. We are constantly striving to increase your wages, improve your working conditions, and protect your pensions so that you can focus on performing your duties and serving the people of California. In the future, without strong membership, CASE may not be able to represent the interests of all members on issues like this. If you are not a Voting Member of CASE, please join today. calattorneys.org/sign-up. If you are already a Voting Member, thank you for your support and please encourage your colleagues to join today.