Illinois governor signs first-of-its-kind resident background check law

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Illinois has become the first state to require criminal background checks for all current and incoming nursing home residents. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) signed the bill into law after protracted debate by stakeholders and lawmakers.

Supporters of the legislation say it will safeguard nursing home residents by identifying sex offenders and violent felons and allowing providers to make special housing or monitoring arrangements. Providers have voiced concerns that the law goes too far and places additional financial burdens on them.

The law requires background checks of Illinois' nearly 100,000 nursing home residents be completed within 60 days. Providers will be required to notify residents when offenders are housed in a nursing home facility.