SENATE FLOOR ALERT – Fair Chance Occupational License Bills Head for Floor Vote!

AB 2138 (Chiu and Low) and AB 2293 (Reyes): Fair Chance Licensing Bill Package

California has one of the largest prison, parole, and probation populations in the United States where 8 million people have been impacted by the justice system through prior convictions. Access to family sustaining employment is critical to ensuring stability and success for the many women and men coming home, yet far too many people face enormous and unnecessary barriers, including being denied licensure in many occupations despite previous work experience, qualifications, rehabilitation, and successful completion of workforce training. 

AB 2138 and AB 2293 remove barriers to occupational licensing for many Californians who have already paid their debt to society and have demonstrated rehabilitation. These bills focus on reforming the overly restrictive licensing policies of the Department of Consumer Affairs-DCA (AB 2138), and gathering relevant data to evaluate the licensing policies of the Emergency Medical Services Authority-EMSA (AB 2293) that allow for the denial, revocation, and/or suspension of licenses because of prior arrests and convictions. Even those who gained job-specific training while incarcerated are still barred from working in their occupational field. This includes serving as a fire fighter while incarcerated, yet being denied an emergency medical technician (EMT) license upon release.

This bill package improves access to licensure by doing the following:

  • Prohibits DCA, from denying or revoking a license for the following reasons: a non-serious conviction older than seven years, a dismissed conviction, or a non-conviction act that is not directly related to the qualifications or duties of the profession for which the application is made.
  • Prohibits boards from requiring applicants to self-disclose criminal history information.
  • Requires boards to collect and publish demographic data about the applicants who are denied a license or whose license has been revoked or suspended based on criminal history.

By improving access to good jobs and careers, and ensuring all Californians have the opportunity to contribute and thrive, we can reduce recidivism, promote community safety, and secure a future of shared prosperity.

Call your CA State Senator [find yours here] and say, “We strongly urge your ‘AYE’ vote on AB 2138 and AB 2293!”