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Governor Edwards Signs ‘Ban The Box’ Into Law

A bill that is designed to give ex-convicts a better chance at re-entering the workforce has been signed into law by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

The legislation, nick-named “Ban The Box,” prevents state employers asking about any criminal history an applicant may have during the application process. This allows someone who has a criminal record, but who is trying to better themselves, to fully explain their circumstances to a potential employer during the interview. However, it does not prevent an employer from asking about the record during the interview, nor does it prevent employers running criminal background checks, a requirement for some positions.

Louisiana is not the first “Ban The Box” state, and backers of the bill are hoping that it will lead to better chances for ex-convicts to get decent jobs so that they may become more productive members of society.

Holly Harris, with the U.S. Justice Action Network, remarked that the bill made for “strange political bedfellows,” as many backers of the bill are on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

The bill was sponsored by Baton Rouge State. Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, a Democrat, and by State Rep. Julie Emerson, a Republican from Carencro.

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