Three FORCE Victories to Increase Jobs for People with Criminal Records

"I have been denied a profession at which I am very good. I cannot even attend school as planned this fall, since one needs to have an active RPN license to pursue a B.S.N. degree.  My entire life has been turned upside down by the recently enacted law....SB 42 will give me and thousands of qualified and motivated individuals an opportunity to be a part of an ever growing field and, most importantly, to help others by giving quality care to those in need."  --Dwight Young, FORCE leader

We are excited to share that three bills have passed the Illinois General Assembly with significant bi-partisan support and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.  These are huge wins that will remove barriers to employment for thousands of men and women in our communities.  Thanks for your advocacy and to our partners in the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois!  In-district visits, calls, emails, and lobbying trips to Springfield by FORCE leaders, CRS congregations, and coalition partners fueled our success.

HB 4360, sponsored by Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Patricia Van Pelt, increases employment opportunities in schools and puts hiring decisions back in the hands of local school districts.

SB 3005, sponsored by Senator Jaqueline Collins and Representative Kelly Cassidy, increases employment opportunities in park districts and allows local park districts to hire the best candidates for jobs.

SB 42, sponsored by Senator Iris Martinez and Representative Camille Lilly, creates licensing opportunities for qualified health care professionals like nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and dental hygienists with forcible felony convictions.

There is one additional bill that has not passed yet.  HB 4515 was amended in the Senate and now the House needs to vote on the motion to concur with the amendment, which changes the effective date. 

HB 4515, sponsored by Representative Camille Lilly and Senator Don Harmon, creates job opportunities in health care facilities like nursing homes by changing the Health Care Worker Registry to focus on an applicant’s eligibility to work, not whether they have obtain a health care waiver.

Urge your Representative to support HB 4515 when it is called for a concurrence vote in the House.

Our justice system should focus on redemption, not retribution.  Yet, there are currently over 500 employment barriers in Illinois law for people who have been incarcerated.  The movement of these bills represents an encouraging shift in policy to create more access to full-time employment opportunities.  Research and experience shows that employment is one of the most effective ways to decrease recidivism and strengthen our communities.  Help to keep the momentum going.

Email your representative now.

Community Renewal Society is part of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI), along with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and Heartland Alliance.  We believe:  Illinois needs a fair system of justice that recognizes human dignity; regardless of their past, everyone deserves a meaningful future; together, we can drive solutions with a community voice.

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