‘Ban the box’ goes to governor

The state House on Monday approved a bill to eliminate a question about a job applicant’s criminal history on forms filled out when seeking employment with state government, reports The Tennessean. It now goes to the governor for his signature.

Advocates of the bill (Sb2440) sponsored by Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, argue it provides those convicted of a crime an equal opportunity.

“This is designed to give those who made a mistake a second chance,” Gilmore said on the House floor.

The policy change, which is commonly referred to as the “ban the box” effort, is one that Metro adopted last year.

Gilmore briefly fielded questions from Reps. Charles Sargent and Glen Casada, both Franklin Republicans, about the particulars of the bill. Gilmore reiterated there are several exemptions to the bill, including a provision that would allow the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the state Department of Education and the state Board of Education to ask applicants about their criminal history.

The Senate approved the measure on March 2 with a 25-7 vote.

Before the chamber’s vote, Gov. Bill Haslam said he supported the bill and would likely sign the legislation.