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'Ban the box' Senate bill passes House

March 29, 2017

As the Indiana General Assembly moves closer to the end of the 2017 long session, state legislators are beginning to hold their final votes on various bills, including legislation on “ban the box” provisions.  

Among that Senate bills that passed the House Tuesday was Senate Bill 312, which deals with municipal hiring practices regarding ex-offenders.

Under SB 312, sponsored in the House by Rep. Daniel Leonard, R-Huntington, municipalities would not be allowed to enact an ordinance that prohibits employers from asking prospective employees if they have a past criminal record. Additionally, SB 312 provides protections for employers who choose to hire employees with criminal records as long as their crimes are not directly related to their work for the employer.

Although SB 312 passed the House Courts and Criminal Code committee unanimously, the full chamber passed the measure with an 80-11 vote.

The House also passed Senate Bill 425, which reduces the penalty for various election-related crimes.

Under current law, a person who commits any number of election crimes – such as falsifying or destroying a declaration of candidacy, possessing a ballot outside of the polls or allowing a voter to cast their ballot at a booth without a screen – were subject to the penalties of a Level 6 felony, which could come with a fine of up to $10,000 or at least two years’ jail time. But under SB 425, sponsored in the House by Rep. David Frizzell, R-Indianapolis, those crimes would be lowered to Class C infractions.

SB 425 passed the House 92-2, with Democratic Reps. Dan Forestal and Terry Goodin, from Indianapolis and Crothersville, respectively, voting in opposition to the measure.

The House will reconvene during a 10 a.m. session on Thursday, when representatives will consider bills such as Senate Bill 423, which would prohibit Indiana postsecondary education institutions from adopting “sanctuary campus” policies for undocumented students. The Indiana Senate will also meet on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

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