Press Release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus, March 10, 2014:
“Certificates of Employability” Give 2nd Chance to Reformed Criminals
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, the Tennessee Senate passed a bipartisan bill 27 to 2 by Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) that will help reformed former felons find employment and lead lawful lives as productive members of society. The House companion is sponsored by Rep. Karen Camper (D-Memphis). Senate Bill 276 will help spur job creation, reduce crime, and protect businesses from needless lawsuits by allowing individuals to petition courts for a certificate of employability. These certificates operate to protect employers who hire new job-seekers from claims of negligent hiring.
“People who have paid their debt to society should be given the opportunity to work,” said Senator Kelsey. “With this bill, these individuals will now have a meaningful path to obtaining a job and leading a law-abiding life.”
This legislation is an innovative attempt to reduce crime and create jobs that other states, such as Ohio, have already implemented with great success. The bill puts in place a process whereby those members of society who may have made mistakes in the past can have a second chance at meaningful employment. By providing a means for employment to those individuals, this bill gives the state yet another tool in the fight to reduce criminal recidivism.
“This bill protects the public by requiring a judge to determine that an individual does not pose a risk to public safety before he can receive a certificate of employability,” said Sen. Kelsey. “This bill will help prevent future crimes by ensuring these individuals have access to good paying jobs and are not tempted to return to a life of crime.”
Senator Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown. He is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.