June 1, 2016

Occupational-licensing Reform Bill Passes Illinois General Assembly

CHICAGO- June 1, 2016. Safer Foundation is pleased to announce that the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation that removes barriers to employment in seven occupations—barbering, cosmetology, esthetics, hair braiding, nail technology, roofing and funeral service—for people with criminal records.

Proposed jointly by Safer Foundation and the Illinois Policy Institute, HB 5973 prohibits the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from denying license applications for these occupations because of criminal offenses that are unrelated to the professions.

“This is a big step to initiating reform in our state’s occupational licensing laws that is long overdue,” said Safer Foundation Associate Vice President for Policy & Strategy Sodiqa Williams, who wrote much of the language in the law. “These are fields with strong projected job growth that could make a real difference to people trying to turn their lives around.”

HB 5973, or the Occupational Licensing — Criminal Conviction Bill, prohibits the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from denying a license in the specified occupations solely because the applicant has a criminal record. The crimes must directly relate to the occupations for which applicants seek licenses, according to the law. The department would also be required to issue a written decision if it rejects an applicant on the basis of a past conviction.

Sponsored by Illinois state Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, HB 5973 received bipartisan support in both the Illinois House and Senate. It now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office for his signature.

“While this is great news, there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Williams. “There are still more than 100 occupation, professional and business licenses that under current law may or must be denied to applicants with felony records.

About Safer Foundation: Since 1972, Safer Foundation’s mission has been to support, through a full spectrum of services, the efforts of people with criminal records to become employed, law-abiding members of the community and as a result, reduce recidivism. For more information, visit www.saferfoundation.org

  • Watch and Listen
    • Safer Hiring for CRC-1 Positions: Applicants for Corrections Residence Counselors should… MORE >

    • Bernie and Gus: Their Vision: From a 2014 interview with Safer co-founders Raymond… MORE >

  • Headlines
    • Grim prospects for inmates who traveled on bus to freedom months ago: As he rode home on a Greyhound bus earlier this… MORE >

    • State expands ‘certificates of good conduct’ for former offenders: New law gives former offenders the chance to… MORE >

  • Reentry Resources
    • Safer Foundation Policy PapersMORE >

    • Safer Foundation DocumentsMORE >

    • Safer Foundation Fact SheetsMORE >

  • Public Policy
    • The Statistics: Below are data, gathered from independent sources, showing a breakdown of individuals affected by… MORE >

    • Council of Advisors to Reduce Recidivism through Employment (CARRE): In order to make… MORE >

  • Success Stories
    • Nadeja Beasley: Nadeja Beasley had 10 long years to think about some costly choices she… MORE >

    • Jay Borchert: Jay Borchert can proudly say he’s been clean for ten years. Earlier in… MORE >

    • Juan Cruz: Juan Cruz once lived the life of a gangbanger on the streets of Chicago. The… MORE >

  • Follow Us
    • Twitter Twitter Twitter