Trenton – Legislation that would help former offenders enter the workforce cleared the Senate today. The bill is sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton.
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. If that is the case, then the person is disqualified. Otherwise, someone cannot be denied due to a prior conviction.
“It’s a staggering fact that over 60 percent of former prisoners remain unemployed a year after rejoining society,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “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. Having a career path will also make it less likely that they will return to prison.”
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 the Senate by a vote of 36-0-4.