Governor Pat Quinn Approves Law to Improve Employment Chances for Former Offenders

(Chicago, IL) – Governor Pat Quinn has approved an additional mission for a state employment oversight panel: review existing job regulations that could be revised to help former offenders get jobs.

Quinn signed legislation, House Bill 297, that directs the Illinois Task Force on Inventorying Employment Restrictions to submit to his office and the Illinois General Assembly findings and recommendations regarding employment restrictions–not related to public safety–that could be changed to improve job opportunities for those have paid their debt to society.

Sponsored by State Representative Connie Howard (D-Chicago) and State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), the new law requires all state agencies under the Governor to produce a report describing restrictions that could be eased or be eliminated based on criminal records for each occupation under their offices.

“Ultimately, the new law may help remove a barrier to employment for qualified applicants who’ve been involved in the justice system,” said Pamela Rodriguez, president of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC).

“Discriminating against qualified job applicants is no way to boost employment or reduce recidivism,” added Rodriguez. “Fortunately, Represenative Howard, Senator Raoul and Governor Quinn recognize that employment discrimination will not move the state forward.”

In addition to Representative Howard, House sponsors included State Representatives Mary Flowers (D), Monique Davis (D), Marlow Colvin (D), and Camille Lilly (D).

In addition to Senator Raoul, State Senator Donne Trotter (D) co-sponsored the legislation.

The task force will report its findings to the Governor and General Assembly by September 1, 2012.

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