• Legislature considers banning the ‘Are you a convicted felon?' box on state job applications

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    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Cities like Orlando and Daytona Beach have acted to remove questions about criminal history from job applications and now the state is considering doing the same.

    The “ban the box” measure would open up possibilities for thousands of people, Florida state Rep. Randolph Bracy said. Bracy is a co-sponsor of the bill to remove the questions from state job applications.

    “Once (an applicant) checks that box, usually an employer will ‘X’ them off the list and they don’t get the opportunity to prove their worth or value,” he said of applicants with criminal histories.

    The measure would not remove background checks, it would just allow an applicant’s qualifications to be considered first, Bracey said.

    “Really, I think it’s a way to reduce crime,” he said. “If you help folks get on their feet, you’re making our society safer.”

    Lashanna Tyson was part of the group pushing for a “ban the box” measure in Daytona Beach. She was the getaway driver during a convenience store robbery that left the clerk dead. A mother of three, Tyson served 13 years in prison for her role in the crime.

    Once she got out, she found that getting a job was a monumental task. Getting a foot in the door after checking a “yes” next to a question about her criminal history was almost impossible.

    “I have been fighting my way out of a hole since I came home (from prison),” she said.

    Statewide “ban the box” legislation could help change that, she said.

     The Florida “ban the box” legislation is expected to be taken up by committee next week, Bracey said.

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