Louisiana has become one of 24 states that have now passed “ban the box” legislation, meaning that job applicants will be evaluated based on skills and interview conversations (rather than just a checkmark). Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill on Wednesday prohibiting state employer from inquiring about applicants’ previous criminal activity before they are interviewed. The new bill will allow formerly incarcerated job applicants to “Let the (hiring) folks know who they are, what their qualifications are, their interest in seeking employment, their ability to do the job, before criminal history is taken into consideration” said Gov. Edwards.

The new law will affect approximately 30,000 “unclassified” employee positions with the state effective August 1st. The bipartisan bill is in a step in revamping the state’s criminal justice laws, according to Smart on Crime Louisiana (bipartisan group that pushes for incarceration reduction). Opponents of the law feel that it will lead to mandates for private businesses, and would put up barriers in disqualifying an applicant due to past criminal activity.

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