Saturday, March 15, 2014

Louisville Council Votes to Ban the Box

While Kentucky legislators compete to suggest more ridiculous and humiliating ways to punish people for paying their debt to society, civilization and humanity manages to prevail in Louisville.

Applicants for jobs with Louisville government and for many vendors who work with local government will likely no longer have to fill out applications asking if they have a criminal conviction.

After some contentious debate and eventual compromise, the Louisville Metro Council voted 26-0 Thursday night to approve the so-called ban the box ordinance, which would not allow the city and its vendors or contractors to ask about convictions on the job application.

The city already does not ask about convictions on applications. The ordinance approved Thursday, if signed by Mayor Greg Fischer, would put the practice into law. Fischer, who had expressed concerns about some provisions that later were addressed in amendments, commended the council for the bipartisan passage of the “compassionate legislation.”

Supporters argue that removing the box from applications would give convicts an opportunity to get their foot in the door and have a chance to compete for a job that would help them reintegrate into society. They believe the move is crucial in Louisville with about 160,000 people in the metro area with a criminal record.

“You can’t have a quality of life without a job,” said Carolyn VanZant of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. She joined several organizations that participated in a rally outside city hall before the vote.
Fischer and council Republicans had expressed concerns about extending the ban to vendors, arguing implementation would be difficult with 26,000 vendors of all sizes. Republicans also disagreed with Louisville dictating policy to businesses.
You know what, Greg Fischer?  The only reason the rest of us in the Commonwealth tolerate Louisville at all is because it is an island of civilization and reason in a red-state hellhole. Don't fuck that up by vetoing this bill.

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