Bipartisan Bill to ‘Ban the Box’ on College Applications Passes House

Approximately 70 percent of college applications ask for information on prior convictions

(Apr. 19) – The House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, that would prohibit questions regarding criminal history on an initial college application.

“Two out of three people who start a college application and select yes to the question regarding criminal history do not finish the application,” said Rep. Herod. “Banning the Box will give students a chance to tell their own story and will help those with a criminal record get a college degree, a critical achievement for success in today’s job market.”

The bill would not prohibit questions regarding criminal history on college housing applications.

Educational programming reduces recidivism by 40 percent and provides opportunities for employment and positive support that decrease the likelihood of committing future crimes. There is no evidence to suggest that criminal history considerations have any impact on campus safety.

The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 43-21, with Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and Rep. Jim Wilson joining Democrats and the bill sponsors in supporting the bill. SB19-170 now heads to the Governor’s desk.

Rep. Herod also sponsored a bill, HB19-1025, that restricts employers from asking an applicant about their criminal history on the initial application, but allows them to inquire at any other stage of the hiring process. That bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

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