TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Nia Gill, which would require certain standards for professional and occupational boards considering applicants with criminal history records, passed the Senate Commerce Committee.
“The dignity of work is a valuable attribute, one that should be attainable and within reach, especially for those with a criminal history,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Yet, over 60 percent of former prisoners remain unemployed after they rejoin society. By requiring professional boards to consider applicants who have made mistakes in the past, we are showing people that their past conviction will not be a barrier to future success. This is a major step forward in revolutionizing criminal justice reform.”
The bill, S-1589, would supplement current law to ensure nobody would be disqualified from obtaining or holding any certificate, registration, or license issued by an occupational or professional board solely because of a prior conviction of a crime. However, that is unless the crime directly relates to the profession or occupation regulated by a board.
The bill would establish standards a board must consider in determining whether a crime or offense directly relates to the activity regulated by a board. This includes the nature and seriousness of the crime and the passage of time since its commission, any evidence of rehabilitation, and the relationship of the crime to the ability required to complete the responsibilities of the profession or occupation regulated by a board.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.