- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Democrats are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit state and local government employers from running criminal background checks on potential employees.

Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson is sponsoring AB 348 and testified on the bill Wednesday in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee.

The bill would allow people to apply for government jobs without revealing their criminal background and prohibit employers from running a check until the job is offered.

Thompson said more than 70 million people in the United States have a criminal record and that the bill would make it easier for formerly incarcerated people to successfully re-enter society. He said that gaining regular employment makes it less likely for prior offenders to end up back in prison.

“This is a long time coming,” he said during the hearing. “We shouldn’t have those assumptions on the table anymore.”

The proposal also sets out certain factors that employers must consider before rescinding a job offer to someone with a criminal history. Employers would need to consider the length of time between the crime and job application and any rehabilitation efforts taken by potential employees before formally taking back a job offer.

Thompson said he was open to amending the bill in order to carve out exemptions for public schools and other governmental jobs. He said the bill was inspired in part through a national campaign called “Ban the Box” seeking to change hiring practices for people with criminal backgrounds.

Seven states, including California, have passed similar legislation removing questions on conviction history for public sector jobs.

The committee took no action on the bill.

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