Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton, which would help former offenders enter the workforce, cleared the Senate Commerce Committee today.
“It is a staggering fact that nearly one in three adults in this country has a record in the criminal justice system,” said Senator Singleton. “And, over 60 percent of former prisoners remain unemployed a year after rejoining society. By reducing the barriers that face former prisoners when they seek an occupational license, we can help them have a successful re-entry into the workforce, which will greatly increase their chances of not returning to prison.”
The bill, S-942, would require professional and occupational boards to determine whether a person is disqualified from certification, registration or licensure due to a prior conviction of a crime or offense. These boards would also have to consider whether the crime or offense has a direct or substantial relationship that is inconsistent with the public’s safety.
Current law permits a board to refuse to admit a person to an examination or refuse to issue any certificate, registration or license issued by the board upon proof that the applicant was convicted of a crime regulated by the board.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0.