March 16, 2022

BILL TO BOOST COLORADO WORKFORCE PASSES HOUSE

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 today passed the House 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.

“This bill will boost our workforce by breaking down unnecessary barriers that prevent people from entering a profession and building a new life,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “Under the bill, the Department of Regulatory Affairs will create a standard for Coloradans with criminal records to apply for jobs to make it easier for qualified individuals to pursue careers in critical fields.”

“We are excluding too many people from thriving in professions they are qualified for,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “This disproportionately prevents Black and Brown Coloradans from building a better life and entering professions regulated by the state. This bill will begin to open new opportunities for Coloradans who have been involved in the criminal justice system, which will boost our workforce, create jobs and help employers across the state.”

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.