PHOENIX — A first-term state lawmaker wants an immediate special session he said is necessary to protect Arizonans from identity theft related to the new health-care law.
Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, said neither the federal government nor Arizona has any requirement to ensure these helpers, or “navigators,” do not use their access to personal information to commit identity theft. In a letter Monday he asked Gov. Jan Brewer to clear the way to require that navigators at least pass a criminal background check.
Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act starts today and is being eased along by navigators — individuals and organizations trained to help consumers, small businesses and their employees as they decide on the best coverage.
Boyer said, ideally, he wants the governor to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol to remedy the problem, but conceded that is unlikely.
So he is working on a backup plan to have his legislation considered on an emergency basis when the Legislature reconvenes in January, with a provision making it retroactive so that those who already are functioning as navigators must immediately get registered.
Boyer said what he is seeking is not unusual. He said the National Conference of State Legislatures has found that 23 states already have mandated background checks.
“The last thing we want is for any Arizonan to have their identity stolen,’’ he wrote to Brewer.
Gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder said his boss is willing to consider the issue in January.
Boyer said this isn’t about regulating people who simply provide forms or links to websites to those who ask.
“They’re going to have Social Security numbers,’’ he said. “They’ll even have in some cases bank information because they have to have the financial information.’’
His proposal would require navigators to register with the state Department of Insurance, go through a criminal background check and be fingerprinted.
Anyone with a felony conviction would be disqualified. He is undecided on whether a misdemeanor conviction should disqualify someone.