Delaware will soon become the 12th state in the country to “ban the box” on job applications.
On Thursday, the Senate passed House Bill 167, which removes criminal histories from public agency job applications. Positions with statutory mandates, such as educators, daycare workers and law enforcement, are excluded from this legislation.
Both the City of Wilmington and New Castle County recently adopted the “Ban the Box” practice.
While the bill received bipartisan support, lawmakers debated whether it could create loopholes for lawsuits. Supporters of the bill claim that it will help counter recidivism because ex-offenders would have better opportunities to obtain employment and to readjust to society.
“They all had good remarks,” said Rep. J.J. Johnson, D-Wilmington, the bill’s primary sponsor. “Even the people that weren’t really in full support of the legislation. They felt that in some instances the bill didn’t go far enough. I appreciate the debate.”
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Jack Markell. The governor advocated for the ban during his State of the State address in January.