November 8, 2011
TAYLOR REINTRODUCES TWO BILLS FOR REENTRY EMPLOYMENT, REJECTS DISCRIMINATION IN GOP PROPOSED LAWS
Taylor’s Ban The Box & Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act Help Offenders Achieve Employment and Successful Reentry
(MADISON) Sen. Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) today reintroduced two bills which she originally authored in the 2009 session that will help reentering offenders return to gainful employment and successful reentry. Taylor has reintroduced the state’s “Ban the Box” law which will remove questions of conviction record on job applications prior to employment interviews and the state’s “Uniform Collateral Consequences of Convictions Act” which will allow a court to grant a restoration of rights certificate to an offender with a successful reentry record. Both acts provide a better opportunity for a qualified job seeker to obtain gainful employment while overcoming the stigma and discrimination they face because of a conviction. Taylor has brought these bills back to the Legislature in the midst of the Republican majority proposing laws that allow any and all discrimination against a job seeker or employee with conviction record in employment situations.
“As the first Wisconsin author of these bills I can state that ‘Ban the Box’ and the ‘Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act’ are powerful laws that declare that Wisconsin rejects discrimination and wants those persons with conviction records to succeed in finding work,” Taylor noted. “Unfortunately, the GOP seems hell bent on enshrining discrimination in our law with bills like SB 207. For a successful future that will cost taxpayers less, Wisconsin should be passing these two bills I have proposed and put SB 207 in the graveyard for good. This is what my community and communities around Wisconsin expect: a fair second chance to clean up life and be a good citizen.”
Taylor noted that arrest and conviction is not limited to one race or geographic area of the state. In 2010, Wisconsin recorded 355,543 arrests across the state. Of that number 262,365 arrests were of white persons, 78,875 were African-Americans, 4,320 were Asian, and 9,993 were American Indian. In addition, only 79,822 arrests occurred in Milwaukee County, while 275,720 arrests were made elsewhere in the state (Source: OJA Justice Data Portal).
“Overcoming a conviction record to get a job is not a Milwaukee problem or a black problem – it’s a Wisconsin economic problem. A problem that requires Wisconsin to take these types of steps to help get people back to work. Discrimination has no place in our society, especially when it will cost us as taxpayers more when those reentering persons can’t find a job. We should move quickly to enact real justice and reforms to get people back to work.” Taylor concluded.
Both bills were introduced by Senator Taylor and then Rep., now Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi in the 2009 session (SB 612 and SB 613). The bills are circulating in the Legislature for co-sponsorship through Friday, November 18th. Those supportive of the measures are encouraged to call their Senators and Representatives to ask for their support.