Sen. Al Franken Tuesday lauded the Senate passage of his bipartisan child protection legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The Child Protection Improvements Act would establish a national, voluntary criminal history background check and review program for organizations serving children, the elderly and people with disabilities in Minnesota and across the nation, according to a news release from Franken's office.

"One of my top priorities is to protect the safety of our most vulnerable populations," said Franken, a member of the Senate Education and Judiciary committees, in a news release. "And to help do that, we should give organizations that look after our kids, the elderly, and people with disabilities the tools they need to make sure that their staff and volunteers are trustworthy. Our bipartisan bill would improve safety and help give families the confidence that their loved ones are in good hands, and I'm glad we could get it passed in the Senate. I'm going to be pushing to get the measure across the finish line in the House and then signed into law."

The Child Protection Improvements Act would amend the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to:

• Ensure organizations serving children, the elderly and individuals with disabilities have access to FBI fingerprint background checks,

• Help maintain the costs of background checks are reasonable, and

• Establish criteria to determine whether a volunteer is suitable to serve a vulnerable population.

The bipartisan legislation is supported by both the YMCA of the USA and The National Mentoring Partnership, and 28 other youth-serving organizations.