Blog

 
     

Indiana Senator Wants to Ban “Ban the Box” Legislation

By Michael Klazema on 1/9/2017
Could Indiana make it illegal for municipalities to implement “ban the box” ordinances? If a Republican State Senator gets his way, then yes. Per a report from The Times of Northwest Indiana, Phil Boots, an Indiana State Senator from the town of Crawfordsville, has announced a plan to introduce a new piece of legislation during the current session. The law in question, he says, would bar cities, towns, and counties throughout Indiana from enacting "ban the box" policies.

Boots and his planned legislation align with comments made recently by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Per the Times article, the Chamber of Commerce believes that “ban the box” ordinances are unfair to businesses. Employers should be allowed to make their own decisions about who to hire, the Chamber says. “Ban the box” ordinances impair this freedom by forcing businesses to remove questions about criminal history from their job applications. Some “ban the box” policies even restrict when in the hiring process employers can run background checks on their applicants.

Proponents of “ban the box” ordinances argue that the policies help ex-criminal offenders find jobs and rebuild their lives—thereby reducing recidivism. Mike Ripley, who serves as the Vice President of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, doesn’t disagree with that argument. However, he does believe that employers should be the ones ultimately making the decision of whether to hire individuals with criminal records. Technically, employers still make that decision, as “ban the box” policies don’t forbid pre-employment background checks. However, “ban the box” policies do delay when in the hiring process employers can learn about applicant criminal histories.

Indiana hasn’t seen much in the way of "ban the box" legislation over the years. While some states have more than half a dozen municipalities that have passed "ban the box" ordinances (in California, for instance, 12 districts have some form of "ban the box" legislation), Indiana only has one. Marion County, the county that houses Indianapolis, banned the box for public employees and contractors in 2014. The county has yet to prohibit the box for private employers, however.

The legislation that Boots is currently drafting would not retroactively eliminate the "ban the box" ordinance in Marion County. For the time being at least, public employers in Indianapolis would still not be permitted to ask about criminal history on job applications. However, if the legislation passes, no other city or county in the state would be authorized to implement its own "ban the box" ordinance.

Boots said he wants to push this legislation to make things simpler and more uniform for employers. He is worried that, if different policies began emerging in every different city or county, businesses would have a difficult time knowing what rules to follow. If Indiana bans “ban the box,” then all employers outside of Marion County would know that they were free to ask about criminal history on job applications.

Sources:

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/new-state-bill-to-prohibit-ban-the-box-ordinances/article_bdfccb5b-1599-5eb2-962b-6aaf61a84c27.html

http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/Ban-the-Box-Fair-Chance-State-and-Local-Guide.pdf

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • February 21 — In January, a Washington, D.C. contractor was fired for being reckless with confidential patient files. The woman had a criminal record with two felony convictions, but a local background check did not list the offenses.
  • February 16 — A state representative in Wisconsin aims to make it a Class A misdemeanor to lie on a state application for professional licensing. It is illegal to lie on licensing applications but there is no protocol for prosecuting offenders.
  • February 14 — The schools in the University of Wisconsin System are considering criminal background checks for all student applicants. The deliberation was sparked by protests responding to a student on the UW-Madison campus who tried to start a white nationalist group.
  • February 09 — Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed an executive order banning the box in the state government’s executive branch.
  • February 01 — A startup in New York is offering to help customers move large, cumbersome cargo with its Uber-style startup. The company claims it is vigilant about running background checks on all drivers, reviewing driver’s licenses, driving records, and criminal records.
  • January 29 — An Indiana legislative committee recently gave its unanimous support to a proposal that would shift the way teacher background checks are done in the state. The proposal would require teachers to go through background checks every five years.
  • January 26 — Washington, D.C. has become the latest city to ban the use of credit checks for most employers. Employers will be exempted from the new law in seven situations but will still be expected to comply with the FCRA.
  • January 24 — A school district in Omaha, Nebraska is facing criticism for how it has managed, overseen, and collaborated with its busing contractor. A recent audit reported that the school district has no process in place to ensure that all contracted drivers have completed background checks and requisite training.
  • January 23 — The University of Illinois expanded its background check policy to include all employees last year. One year into the policy, the university is looking back at the statistics.
  • January 20 — Portland Public Schools is looking at its background check policies after two cases of overlooked criminal information. The district recently offered the job of general counsel to an attorney with a previous conviction for violating public records law.