- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

April 19

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, on the general assembly:

One of the more important pieces of legislation that came out of the Tennessee General Assembly’s recently ended session was the Certificates of Employability Act, which may make it easier for some felons to find gainful employment.

The bill, which has been sent to the governor’s desk for his signature, was sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, and Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis. It addresses one of the more serious obstacles in the effort to reduce the state’s crime rate - felons returning to a life of crime because of an inability to find a job that pays a decent wage.

In Tennessee, about 35 percent of felons return to prison within three years after they are released. Some are just bad eggs, prone to a life of crime.

Others, after serving their sentences, are ready to rejoin society as productive citizens, an effort made more difficult by employers’ reluctance to hire them.

The Kelsey-Camper bill allows courts to issue a certificate of employability to convicted felons who have stayed on the straight and narrow. The bill also grants some legal protection from lawsuits to companies that hire someone who has a court-issued certificate.

There are some jobs felons convicted of certain crimes should not hold. But there are jobs many could hold that pay more than minimum wage and have potential for advancement. But employers have to be convinced that hiring them would not be a risk.

The Certificates of Employability Act will not be a game changer for some employers, but it could convince those who are on the fence about hiring felons to take a chance on a person who made a mistake, paid for it with a prison sentence and is now ready to rejoin society as a productive citizen.

Online:

http://www.commercialappeal.com

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April 12

Jackson Sun on Gov. Haslam needing to veto PARCC:

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