Kentucky Governor Signs Executive Ban the Box Order

By Michael Klazema on 2/9/2017
Candidates seeking certain jobs with the Kentucky state government will no longer have to disclose previous criminal activity. Per a report from The Courier-Journal, the main newspaper of Louisville, Kentucky, the state’s Governor, Matt Bevin, recently signed an executive order that bans the box for the state government. Going forward, applications for all jobs within the Kentucky executive branch won’t include questions about criminal history.

Like other ban the box laws, Bevin’s executive order leaves hiring managers and committees with the right to run background checks on their applicants. The order doesn’t apply to local governments throughout the state, or to any private employers, coverage explains.

Bevin expressed hope that the executive order will be able to inspire change in Kentucky. The Governor noted that he believes the order will make it so that a person’s criminal history is not “front and center” when they are trying to secure employment. Per coverage, Bevin sees the order as a chance for ex-offenders to prove to prospective employers that they are the best candidates for a job.

While the executive order only applies to the state government’s executive branch, Bevin encouraged other employers throughout Kentucky to ban the box on their own terms. “I want to specifically challenge each and every private employer in this state to think about doing the exact same thing,” Bevin said, quoted in the Courier-Journal report. He also said that society is “going to need” ex-offenders who have “paid their dues” and are working to rebuild their lives. Banning the box would help those ex-offenders get back on their feet, thereby reducing recidivism, he claimed.

The executive order marks some of the first major progress that the ban the box movement has made in the state of Kentucky, advocates noted. Per the National Employment Law Project, Kentucky previously had one ban the box measure: a law in Louisville that bans the box for public employees and vendors. So far, no other city or county in the state has passed an ordinance banning the box for public employers.

No laws in Kentucky prevent private employers from asking about criminal history on job applications.


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