State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) announced the passage of legislation that would remove questions about past convictions from public-sector applications.

The bill, referred to as "ban the box", does not take away the ability of employers to perform background checks or inquire about criminal convictions at a later stage in the hiring process.

"This legislation provides many Ohioans with a much-needed second chance," said LaRose. "Far too often applications are set aside simply because of a checked box and this will give applicants an opportunity to take the next step toward meaningful employment."

The legislation prohibits public employers from including on an employment application any questions concerning the criminal background of the applicant. This will give the applicant a chance to be evaluated on his or her job qualifications as opposed to not even getting a first look because of a past criminal record.

"As chairman of the State and Local Government Committee I am proud that we have given people the opportunity to get their lives back on track while continuing to respect the integrity of public employers," said LaRose.

LaRose heard testimony on the importance of ensuring fair access to job opportunities for past offenders and the positive impact that employment has on reducing recidivism.

Seventeen states have passed similar legislation and House Bill 56 would codify an executive order signed by Gov. John Kasich earlier this year.

House Bill 56 passed the Ohio Senate and Ohio House with strong bipartisan support and now will be sent to Governor Kasich for his signature.

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