HARTFORD – The Connecticut Senate today voted to approve a bill to prevent job licensure discrimination against people living with a record of arrest or conviction, H.B. 5248. The bill would prevent job licensure boards from instituting blanket bans against wide groups of people based on their record of arrest or conviction, and would instead require licensure boards to assess people individually. Licensure boards would be allowed to deny a license to someone based on their record of arrest or conviction only if that record was directly relevant to the job at hand, and boards would be required to consider the length of time since someone’s arrest or conviction. With today’s vote, the bill now awaits action by Governor Ned Lamont.
Gus Marks-Hamilton, ACLU of Connecticut campaign manager, had the following reaction:
“When people have earned the chance to be part of society, they should be able to support themselves and their families. Yet one of the most insidious ways that the criminal legal system harms people is by pretending that someone’s sentence is done when they leave prison or supervision, only to use that record to deny them basic necessities – jobs, housing, education – at every turn. Because of systemic racism in the criminal legal system, those collateral harms of incarceration most fall on Black and Latinx families. This bill is an important victory for improving access to jobs for people living with a record, for their loved ones and families, and for all of us, because it means more people will have a chance at survival. Today, we celebrate the hard work of justice-impacted people, particularly Smart Justice leaders, who made this moment possible, and we urge the Governor to sign this bill into law.”
Alex Brown, ACLU of Connecticut Smart Justice leader, said the following:
“This bill is about hope, survival, and racial justice. So many people, myself and others, who are living with a record have a lot to contribute to Connecticut, and we should be eliminating barriers to employment and licensing so that people can become truly successful members of this state. Smart Justice has been advocating for years for legislators to listen to people most harmed by the collateral consequences of a record, and this bill is a sign that some legislators are listening. We urge Governor Lamont to do the same by signing this bill into law.”
Nationwide, more than 95 percent of people who are incarcerated will return to society. When people with a record of arrest or conviction return to society in Connecticut, they face more than 500 legal barriers to their and their families’ survival, and the majority of these are in employment.
This is the third year the Connecticut General Assembly has considered a bill regarding employment discrimination against people living with a record of arrest or conviction.
To access Smart Justice leader Alex Brown’s testimony regarding the original version of the bill: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/i-want-use-my-skills-help-people-employment-discrimination-stands-my-way
To access Smart Justice leader Tyran Sampson’s testimony regarding the original version of the bill: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/barriers-reentry-hurt-our-families-including-children
To access Smart Justice leader Manuel Sandoval’s testimony regarding the original version of the bill: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/theres-no-room-forgiveness-current-system-has-change