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Senate Judiciary Holds Hearing on Bill to Help Reformed Felons Find Work

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; October 28, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on a bill introduced by Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) that would help reformed former felons seek employment. Senate Bill 276 will help spur job creation, reduce crime, and protect businesses from needless lawsuits. The bill will allow former criminals to petition courts for a certificate of employment restoration, and it will protect future employers who hire these new job-seekers from claims of negligent hiring.

“At a job fair last October, the number one request I heard was for legislation that would help reformed felons,” said Senator Kelsey. “With this bill, these individuals will now have a meaningful path to obtaining employment and leading a law-abiding life.”

Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law and Director of the Criminal Justice program at Vanderbilt University Law School, testified in favor of Senator Kelsey’s legislation. Professor Slobogin stated that providing a means for employment is the best way to reduce criminal recidivism.

This legislation will especially impact those former felons who may have been convicted of a nonviolent crime many years ago and have already paid their debt to society by fulfilling all of a court’s sentencing requirements.

“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 employment restoration,” 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.”

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Kelsey, Camper File Legislation to Aid Reformed Felons in Job Search

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 30, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and State Representative Karen Camper (D-Memphis) have filed a bill that helps reformed former felons seek employment. Senate Bill 276 also protects the future employers who hire these new job-seekers from claims of negligent hiring.

“At a job fair in October, the number one request I heard was for legislation that would help reformed felons,” said Senator Kelsey. “By petitioning the courts for a certificate of employment restoration, those individuals will now have a meaningful path to obtaining employment and leading a law-abiding life.”

This legislation will especially impact those former felons who may have been convicted of a non-violent crime many years ago and have already paid the price for their crimes by fulfilling all of a court’s sentencing requirements.

“After meeting and talking with many former felons at a recent job fair I hosted, I realized that the best way we can prevent crime in the future is to ensure that they have access to good paying jobs,” said Rep. Karen Camper. “People who have paid their debt to society should be given the opportunity to contribute as productive citizens.”

Before a certificate of employment restoration is issued, a judge must determine that the individual petitioning the court has established that the certificate will assist them in obtaining a job, help meet the need of living a law-abiding life, and not pose any unreasonable risk to the safety of the general public or any individual.