"BAN THE BOX" REPORTS FROM SENATE COMMITTEE ON GENERAL LAWS
Bill from Sen. Dance aims to help former felons contribute to their communities
RICHMOND — This afternoon, the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted 9-6 to report a bill from Sen. Rosalyn Dance (D - Petersburg) to “ban the box” in most state employment decisions. Two Republicans joined all seven Democrats in support.
Said Sen. Dance, “Once they’ve paid their dues, former offenders deserve to rejoin society — but without a job, that’s almost impossible. This bill will ensure that our fellow Virginians are judged on their skills, knowledge, and abilities — not their past mistakes. Many of these folks want nothing more than to become working, participating citizens: to reintegrate into society and pay their taxes. I’m pleased we’ve taken this step to give them a second chance.”
Experts from several outside groups appeared in support of the bill, including the ACLU of Virginia and Offender Aid and Restoration. No one spoke against the measure.
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.