(April 24) – The House gave final approval today to a bill to break down one of the last bastions of unemployment in Colorado – former convicts who have paid their debt but are unable to get the job that would complete their reintegration into society.

HB17-1305, sponsored by Reps. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, and Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, would eliminate questions about criminal history from initial employment applications in Colorado.

The bill would not impair an employer’s ability to perform a background check at any point in the hiring process. But it would prevent employers from automatically rejecting any job application that includes a yes answer to the question, “Do you have a criminal history?”

“This bill keeps a job applicant in the running based on his or her skills and qualifications,” Rep. Melton said. “And if a background check turns up something later, the applicant and the employer have a better chance to come to an understanding through dialogue.”

“The best rehabilitation program for an ex-offender is a job,” Rep. Foote said. “This bill is about economic opportunity and making sure that folks can support themselves and their families.”

After today’s 36-28 vote, HB17-1305 is off to the Senate.

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