Senator Williams Testifies on "Ban the Box" Bill
March 4, 2020
Today, state Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) provided sponsor testimony on “Ban the Box” legislation, Senate Bill 70 (SB 70) to the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee. SB 70 would prohibit private employers from including questions about an applicant’s conviction record or whether they’ve plead guilty to a felony on an employment application.
“It is imperative that we allow applicants to present themselves and their qualifications as a whole, rather than having a prior conviction end their hope for employment at the moment they submit their application,” said Williams. “This legislation removes the first barrier to employment for people with criminal records who wish to become contributing members of society.”
Employment is the single most influencing factor in decreasing recidivism according to a study published in Justice Quarterly. Two years after release, nearly twice as many employed people with records avoid re-incarceration than those that were unemployed.
As of 2016, Ohio has had a law prohibiting public employers from asking an applicant’s criminal background during the beginning stages of hiring.
“It is time for Ohio to join the 13 other states that have also mandated the removal of conviction history questions from job applications for private employers,” said Williams. “This is a crucial step toward ensuring that people with records have a fair chance at employment in the majority of jobs.”
Senate Bill 70 awaits its second hearing in the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee.