Sen. Kyle passes legislation to ban the box in state employment


State Sen. Sara Kyle's legislation to eliminate the check box that asks about prior felonies from state job applications passed the state Senate today with a 25-7 vote.

"We want ex-offenders who have paid their debt to society to find a job and get back to work," state Sen. Sara Kyle said. "But too often, the stain of a prior felony conviction is an automatic rejection, and many don't bother to apply. This legislation gives everyone a fair chance to make an impression and land the job that could support a family."
Under SB 2440, the state could no longer include a question about felony convictions on its job applications. Managers could ask later in the hiring process, but eliminating the check box is proven to give more people an opportunity to make a good impression. Applications for jobs in education are exempt from the legislation and could continue to use the check box. 
Companion legislation, HB 2442, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Gilmore, will be heard in the House State Government Committee March 8. It passed the House State Government Subcommittee Feb. 24. 
"We know that ex-offenders who get jobs and earn a living are far less likely to re-offend," Rep. Gilmore said. "Under this legislation, the state sets an example for other employers by giving everyone a fair chance."

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  • commented 2016-05-16 03:30:36 -0500
    “Applications for jobs in education are exempt from the legislation and could continue to use the check box.”

    Why? If the ex-offenders have paid their debt to society then why are jobs in education exempt? Violent ex-offenders who still have psychological issues is one thing but people who have served time for drugs or shoplifting are another. People who recognize that what they did was illegal or recognize that laws are critical to a well-functioning society may communicate this to the children better than those who have never been incarcerated. The appropriate evaluation methods must be in place and ex-offenders should be matched to the appropriate positions based on accurate assessment. If there is some valid explanation as to why education should be exempt then there is a possibility that a longer list of exempted positions could be made (e.g., positions of public trust, management of funds, etc). There should not be an exemption list at all based on incarcerated or not? More detailed criteria should be established based on expert evaluation. If a person has learned their lesson then we must assume that they have “learned their lesson.”