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The Connecticut house of representatives has passed a bill that would bar the state from asking about criminal backgrounds of potential employees until just before hiring.  WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.

An earlier bill faced opposition in the legislature.  That bill would have applied similar rules to businesses that contract with the state, and it angered some business advocates.  But this bill applies only to state hiring, and it passed the house with a unanimous vote. State Senator Edith Prague supports the bill.

“Once somebody has paid their debt to society and come out of prison, what are they going to do with themselves if they can’t get a job?  If we expect people who come out of prison to ever be able to make a life and be a contributing member to society, we have to give them the opportunity to be able to get a job.”
 
The bill now under consideration would make it so the state and its agencies wouldn’t be allowed to ask about a potential employee’s criminal background until a conditional job offer is made.

Prague says the law applying just to state employment is the first step.

“If you can’t get it all you get what you can.  And we could start with state employees because we have something to say about the hiring process of state employees.”

The bill now goes to the state senate.

For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.