DENVER, CO – Legislation to boost Colorado’s workforce by breaking down barriers for Coloradans with a criminal history to obtain licensure, certification or registration for many professions and occupations passed the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee unanimously. HB22-1098, sponsored by Representatives Shannon Bird and Jennifer Bacon, would make it easier for Coloradans with unrelated criminal charges to obtain the credentials they need to enter a profession.
“Access to opportunity is the key to a fulfilling life. We must not allow our laws and regulations to stand in the way of a person’s right to get a job and provide for themselves,” said Rep. Shannon Bird D-Westminster. “This legislation levels the playing field for those involved with the justice system by requiring DORA to evaluate barriers to entering a profession and to also create a standard for Coloradans with criminal records to apply for jobs. We’re working hard to boost Colorado’s workforce by making it easier for qualified, talented individuals to pursue careers in health care, professional trades work and other high-demand jobs."
“This session, we’re continuing our work to break down barriers to employment,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon D-Denver. “Right now, many individuals with a criminal record of any kind are barred from applying for certain jobs that are regulated by the state. In the U.S., one in three Americans have a record and communities of color are disproportionately represented. This bill would open up new opportunities for qualified Coloradans who have been involved with the criminal justice system to apply for jobs, begin new careers and boost our workforce.”
If passed, HB22-1098 would make it so applicants may only be denied a credential based on their criminal history if that history would hinder their ability to do their job safely and competently. Additionally, the bill allows regulators to issue a conditional credential to a potential applicant with certain guardrails in place.
Nearly one in three Coloradans have a criminal record that hinders them from applying for state regulated jobs, including K-12 teaching, child care, health care and other high-demand sectors in Colorado facing workforce shortages. HB22-1098 would make it easier for qualified Coloradans to apply for these jobs if their criminal record does not hinder their ability to do the job safely.