“BAN THE BOX” PASSES VIRGINIA SENATE; MAKES ITS WAY TO HOUSE

Richmond, Va. – This afternoon, on a 23-15 vote, Senator Rosalyn Dance’s (D-Petersburg) “ban the box” bill, SB335, passed through the Virginia Senate and now makes its way to the Virginia House for deliberation.

Said Senator Dance, “So often, our fellow Virginians who have paid their debts to society get judged on their past mistakes rather than on their future potential. We need to make sure that our brothers and sisters have the ability to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and abilities for appropriate jobs, rather than being repeatedly denied a second chance. I am heartened that my colleagues have voted to write this protection into state law.”

Said Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), “We should not continue punish Virginians who have paid their debt to society, who just want to get back to work and back to contributing to society. This bill gives these fellow Virginians the opportunity to be judged on their strengths and what they bring to the table, not on mistakes that they made years ago. It provides an opportunity for Virginians with unrelated former convictions to prove themselves, and not get barred based on one checkbox.”

BACKGROUND

SB 335 generally bars state agencies from inquiring into a job candidate’s criminal background before making a conditional offer of employment, and it prevents them from withdrawing such an offer unless a past conviction relates to the duties and responsibilities of the relevant position. The bill also guarantees local public employers’ ability to ban the box, without mandating that they do so.

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