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'Ban the box' proposal heads for Indianapolis council

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Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is supporting a Democratic city-county councilor's proposal to ban questions on job applications about past criminal convictions.

Councilor Vop Osili, who has pushed since 2012 to “ban the box,” sponsored a proposal that had been set to be introduced to the council Monday. City government, however, was closed Monday because of the winter storm and subzero temperatures, and the council meeting was rescheduled to Jan. 27. Osili's proposal will likely be referred to the council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee.

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter said the Republican mayor's staff is working with Osili on changes to the language of the proposed ordinance, which he wouldn't specify.

"We support the concept," Lotter said.

Osili couldn’t be reached for comment.

The draft ordinance would govern hiring practices of the city, its vendors and recipients of economic incentives. The last category covers any entity receiving tax-increment revenue, tax abatements, bond proceeds or real estate at a reduced cost, and as the proposal acknowledges, includes numerous companies with “hundreds” of employees.

The affected employers would be prohibited from asking about prior convictions on job applications as well as in first-round interviews, unless the applicant offers the information voluntarily. The local rule would not affect background checks required by state or federal law or the hiring processes established by trade unions.

The proposal makes Ballard’s office responsible for vetting hiring practices of city contractors and incentive recipients. The city already has a history of hiring people with convictions. Helping people overcome their criminal past is a priority for Ballard, who established the Office of Re-entry.

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  • my self and others
    Im a 19 year old male attempting to find a job i have a felony i was trialed as an adult at the age of 17 im hoping this law gets passed so it could be easier for people who have made mistakes an have accepted their mistake and have learned from it to get a job an be able to move on with their life and be able to provide for them self's and possibly their family -NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER OR A PERSON BY THEIR PAST
  • Good Grief
    "The affected employers would be prohibited from asking about prior convictions on job applications as well as in first-round interviews" "The local rule would not affect background checks required by state or federal law or the hiring processes established by trade unions." Reading comprehension is a good thing. As I see it the proposal still allows for further vetting (including criminal checks) if an employer is serious about a candidate. It also does not supersede existing laws, so no "child molester working for the Parks Dept" as Indyman states. I've worked with some excellent individuals who were ex-cons. They made mistakes, paid the price and learned from the experience. Luckily my employer was willing to give them a second chance. Personally I'd trust them before I'd trust many of the C-Suite shysters I've dealt with over the years.
  • If there is a person who is guilty of ID theft, I don't have an issue if he works as a mechanic but I would rather he not work some where with access to personal and financial info. I agree with giving people a second chance, but I also think you need to keep them away from temptation. Do we want a child molester working for the Parks Dept?
  • So What's Your Solution?
    If you guys are against hiring criminals, then how do you propose that we stop them from committing crimes again? One of the reasons this country has so many repeat offenders is because it is virtually impossible to get a legitimate job once one has been in jail. So then these ex-offenders just go back on the streets because that's where they can make money.
  • Opposed to Ban the Box
    I am opposed to the "Ban the Box" legislation. People who have committed crimes should have to advise prospective employers of their past transgressions. Employers can ultimately be held accountable for actions of their employees, so why should candidates be able to hide behind the law?
  • Shocking
    So we will now fill our government positions with ex cons. (there are so many cracks possible that I will refrain)

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