Bill Could Help Convicted Felons Find Jobs

A bill, authored by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, is designed to help convicted felons find employment.

AB-1831 would prohibit cities and counties from asking job applicants about criminal history in the first round of the application process. Law enforcement positions and jobs that involve contact with children, however, would still be allowed to ask.

Explaining how the bill would help a potential applicant, Dickinson told FOX40, "We want to at least give that person a chance, if they otherwise would be qualified for the job, to be considered for it; to have that chance that anyone else would have."

Cities and counties would still be allowed to ask about criminal history later in the application process. They just wouldn't be allowed to do so on a job candidate's initial application.

Some of the bill's opponents object to the extra steps that would be required in the application process. In a public letter to Dickinson, the California Police Chiefs Association wrote, "As a matter of first impression, it would appear that AB 1831 would seriously add to the yoke of already fiscally overburdened agencies."

The Association's letter also states, "Assembly Bill 1831...would severely constrict the ability of local governments to avoid hiring persons with criminal records, who, in turn, could harm others."

Dickinson contends that the bill will make communities safer by helping prevent criminal conduct.

"We know the thing that is most likely to keep a person from committing subsequent crimes and going back into the criminal justice system is to be employed," Dickenson said.

AB 1831 is one of three bills currently under consideration at the state Capitol aimed at helping convicted felons find employment.