‘Ban the box’ bill would prohibit Colorado employers from asking about criminal history

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DENVER – Should Colorado employers be banned from asking about criminal history on a job application?

That is the debate at the Colorado Capitol Tuesday as the “ban the box” debate  takes center stage.

Supporters say too many Coloradoans are excluded from job interviews because an employer sees their answer to the question on an application.

“It’s intimidating to a lot of folks so they don’t apply for jobs that they should because they are afraid or scared they’ll get turned down,” Marcus Weaver, who has a criminal record but has turned his life around, said.

The bill, which advanced in the House Judiciary Committee, would “Ban the box” by the fall. Small businesses would have two years to implement the change.

The Bill’s sponsor  says employers could run complete background checks at any time.

“You can still run a background check at any time on an applicant,” Rep. Leslie Herod (D-Denver) said.

“We want to allow someone to walk into a interview with their shoulders back and say here’s who I am here’s something that happened in my past it doesn’t dictate my future,” Herod said.

Unlike previous years several business groups have shifted their support from opposed to neutral – including the NFIB.

Still – many conservatives remain opposed.

“Restricting small business is almost always yes it is always a bad idea,” Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) said.

Because of progressive control at the State Capitol the measure is expected to become law. 10 other states have similar bans.

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