Measure Eliminates Questions About Criminal History On Application For State Positions
by Gilman Halsted
Those pushing for changes in the criminal justice system say the civil service bill approved by the Legislature this week includes a provision that would help ex-felons get a fair shot at a state job.
Opponents of the new bill say it opens the door to political favoritism in the hiring and firing of state employees. Democratic state Sen. Lena Taylor agrees, but said the bill also has a silver lining: It removes the box on the state job application that asks about criminal history. She said that gives ex-felons a foot in the door and a chance to turn their lives around.
“They have now an opportunity to be interviewed and go through a process and to be able to sell themselves without the scarlet level F on top of their forehead,” said Taylor.
Once Walker signs the bill into law, Wisconsin will become the 20th state to ban the criminal history box. A bill pending in Congress would ban the box on all federal job applications.
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