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HB 548 would prohibit a state agency from including a question regarding an applicant's criminal record on an initial employment application form. A state agency would be allowed to inquire into or consider an applicant ’s criminal history record information after the agency has determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified and has conditionally offered the applicant employment or has invited the applicant to an interview.
The provisions of HB 548 would not apply to applicants for positions that deal with children,
HB 548 would simply prevent state agencies, excluding positions dealing with children, from using an applicant's criminal record as an initial screening question. This would allow state agencies to find qualified applicants through initial employment forms without the negative bias associated towards those with criminal records. If an applicant is deemed to be qualified enough for an interview, then the state agency may question them regarding their criminal background along with whatever character type questions they wish to ask.
HB 548 would open the job market up for more individuals with criminal records to apply for jobs they qualify for within state agencies. This bill would not mandate that they be hired, it simply provides an unbiased application process geared towards finding qualified employees.
Diminishing the negative bias that is attached to a criminal record will help to prevent recidivism and allow people with a past to move forward with their lives. We support this legislation.