For Immediate Release:
Berkeley, CA. California Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law AB 1008, the California Fair Chance Act, one of the strongest state laws in the country extending “ban the box” to private employers.
California becomes the 10th state to require both public- and private-sector employers to delay background checks and inquiries about job applicants’ conviction records until they have made a conditional job offer to the applicant. The law takes effect in 2018.
Nearly one in three California adults—disproportionately people of color—have a conviction or arrest record that can show up on an employment background check. The Fair Chance Act will help ensure that these eight million Californians are judged by their qualifications and work experience, and not reflexively rejected by employers at the start of the hiring process.
Fair-chance reforms allow people with records to get their foot in the door and have been shown to increase the number of people with records interviewed and hired. Co-sponsored by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, All of Us or None, National Employment Law Project, andTime for Change Foundation, AB 1008 not only delays background checks but also ensures that job applicants receive a copy of their records before a final hiring decision so that they can point out any errors and offer additional information.
“The signing of the Fair Chance Act marks the latest step in the ‘ban the box’ campaign that All of Us or None began in 2003, and I thank everyone who has worked so diligently over the last 14 years to help formerly incarcerated and convicted people gain access to meaningful employment,” said Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and co-founder of All of Us or None. “Our persistence and dedication exposes the false narrative that people directly impacted by the criminal justice system are lazy or unskilled—we have shown up time and time again to actively participate in the civic process to improve the lives of our families and communities, creating leaders at every step.”
The Fair Chance Act incorporates best practices from the fair-chance ordinances adopted by San Francisco and the City of Los Angeles, as well as the laws of nine other states and more than a dozen other cities and counties that require private employers to delay conviction inquiries. With the enactment of AB 1008, the number of people living in a state or locality with a private-sector fair-chance hiring law increases from one-in-five to nearly one-in-three U.S. residents. In total, 29 states have banned the box for at least public employment, including Nevada, Utah, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana just this year.
“AB 1008 is one of the strongest fair-chance laws in the nation and certainly the one that benefits the most people,” said Beth Avery, staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project. “Given that California is home to approximately 1 in 10 of the 70 million people with records in this country, we expect the new law will directly benefit millions of Californians, while also influencing the hiring practices of major employers across the country.”
A fair chance to work for people with records also means a better chance at success for the next generation of Californians, as nearly half of all U.S. children have at least one parent with a record. What’s more, research demonstrates that employment of people with conviction histories can improve the economy and benefit public safety through decreased recidivism.
“I applaud the courageous criminal justice reforms that the Governor has made possible while continuing to make California a safer and more just society,” said Kim Carter, executive director of Time for Change Foundation. “AB 1008 strengthens the resolve he has demonstrated!”
AB 1008 was authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) as well as Assemblymembers Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), and Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), and Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena).
“We need to expand job opportunities for all Californians, especially those who have served their time and are looking for a fair chance to enter the workforce,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty.
AB 1008 was made possible by the broad support from directly impacted people and numerous California organizations. Even the California Chamber of Commerce removed opposition last month. Well-known criminal justice reform leaders also voiced support for this important law.
“AB 1008 symbolizes a belief in the quintessentially American ideas of redemption and renewal,” wrote artist and activist John Legend. Author of The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson also urged the governor to sign AB 1008. “Our futures are all bound,” wrote Stevenson, “and California’s leadership on this issue can benefit the state while helping to guide the country.”
The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org.
Time for Change Foundation’s mission is to empower disenfranchised low-income individuals and families by building leadership through evidence-based programs and housing to create self-sufficiency and thriving communities. To learn more about TFCF, visitwww.TimeForChangeFoundation.org.
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) organizes communities impacted by the criminal justice system and advocates to release incarcerated people, to restore human and civil rights, and to reunify families and communities. Visit www.prisonerswithchildren.org for more information.
All of Us or None (AOUON) is a grassroots civil and human rights organization fighting for the rights of formerly- and currently- incarcerated people and our families. AOUON began the Ban the Box campaign in 2003.
WHEN: 12 – 1 P.M. Monday, October 16, 2017
Having unpaid court debt or a suspended driver’s license can destabilize many other areas of a low income client’s life, from parenting responsibilities to employment options to housing security. California has some of the most expensive court fines and fees in the country, but now a new set of laws and rules are available to help protect indigent people and their families.
Join this webinar to learn practical tools for advocating that local courts consider low income court users’ “ability to pay” and stop suspending driver’s licenses as a means of debt collection! Find out about the new Back on the Road “Ability to Pay” Implementation Toolkit for Advocates!
Brittany Stonesifer — Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Theresa Zhen — East Bay Community Law Center
Devon Porter — ACLU of Southern California
Free CLE credit available.
Hosted by Legal Aid Association of California.
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LSPC Staff Attorney Brittany Stonesifer joins LSPC Executive Director & Co-Founder of All of Us or None Dorsey Nunn on Street Soldier Radio / KMEL to talk about how all of our Policy Advocacy, Fines & Fees work, and Litigation strategies improve the daily life of formerly incarcerated people & our families.
For example, Brittany’s work with the Back on the Road Coalition got Governor Brown to stop the suspension of drivers licenses for failure to pay fines, & got the DMV to restore 400,000 currently suspended drivers licences! Also, our Policy Advocacy work co-sponsoring AB 1008 (McCarty) The Fair Chance Act will extend Ban the Box policies to private employers, removing barriers to hiring for hundreds of thousands of Californians with conviction histories.
Thanks to Dr. Joseph Marshall and Alive & Free for hosting Dorsey & Brittany, & for allowing us to share our work with our communities.
Thanks to all your phone calls, letters, in-person advocacy, & emails, AB1008 (McCarty) has passed off the Senate Floor & has moved on the Governor’s Desk!
Join us in calling Governor Brown (916.445.2841) & urge him to sign AB1008 & remove barriers to employment for 100,000s of Californians with conviction histories!
Although the Governor ended the unjust practice of using license suspension to force low-income people to pay expensive tickets earlier this year, nearly 200,000 people were left out because their licenses were already suspended for missing a payment before the Governor acted.
To solve this problem, Senator Hertzberg just amended SB 237 into a bill that will clarify that the Governor’s license suspension repeal also applies to the 200,000 Californians who had their licenses suspended before the governor acted in June. Fact sheet here.
We need YOUR HELP to get SB 237 passed by calling Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier TODAY at 916.319.2011 and have him tally your support for the bill.
Feel free to use this sample script:
Hello, my name is _____________, from [town/organization/office].
I am calling in support of SB 237, which would restore the licenses of people who missed a payment in traffic court.
Earlier this year, the Governor decided to stop the practice of suspending the licenses of people who are too poor to afford California’s expensive traffic tickets
Now, the DMV is unfairly keeping 200,000 people’s licenses suspended just because they happened to miss their payment before the Governor took action.
These people could be jailed at any moment just for driving to work or driving a family member to school or a medical appointment.
Punishing the poor is not the way to keep our streets safe.
Please pass SB 237 and add me to the support tally you keep for your member.
And thank YOU for taking the time to support SB237 (Hertzberg) and stop the criminalization of poverty.
Keep up the fight!
Check out more of our Economic Justice / Fines & Fees work here!
Your calls are swinging Senators to support AB 1008! This Ban The Box / Fair Chance Hiring bill is now almost on the Senate Floor for a final vote!
We need your help to get AB 1008 off the Senate Floor by calling these THREE holdout Senators and have them tally your support for the bill.
Feel free to distribute these through your social media networks:
And thank YOU for taking the time to support AB 1008 (McCarty) and all the current and formerly incarcerated people and our family members.
Keep up the fight!
For more information about our Ban the Box Campaign, check out our Toolkit here!