Pitt Co. Rep. introduces ‘Ban the Box’ bill for N.C. state agencies

N.C. Rep Kandie Smith

North Carolina Rep. Kandie Smith, of Pitt County, has introduced a bill to prohibit state agencies from asking about a job applicant’s criminal record until they are selected for an interview.

On Tuesday, Rep. Kandie Smith introduced N.C. House Bill 834, also called the “Ban the Box” bill, which prohibits state agencies from asking about or considering the criminal record of a job applicant until the applicant has been selected for an interview.

If enacted, N.C. House Bill 834 would apply to job applications submitted to state agencies on or after July 1, 2019.

So far, 35 states and more than 150 cities and counties across the U.S. have already enacted similar laws.

Rep. Smith explained the need for this law, stating, “Asking for a criminal history on job applications creates an unnecessary barrier for millions of Americans searching for work. By narrowing the pool of qualified workers with a question about criminal history, we’re not only hurting peoples chance to provide for themselves and their families, but we’re also hurting the economy and society at large.”

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an estimated 70 million U.S. adults with prior arrests or convictions could be protected by a “Ban the Box” law. NELP research has shown that the reduced output of goods and services from this group costs the nation’s economy an estimated $78 to $87 billion annually.

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