April 16 – Advocating for an end to job discrimination and life-time hiring bans, a group of 39 advocates, attorneys, and formerly incarcerated community leaders traveled to Springfield on April 16.
Working with Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and the Community Renewal Society, our Reentry Project has visited Springfield three times this session to advocate for House Bill 494, which removes lifetime bars work in or near schools for people with records.
As a result of our efforts, over 20 legislators have signed on as co-sponsors to HB 494, and more legislators from both sides of the political aisle have indicated a strong interest.
Sponsored by State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), the bill passed out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum and Policies Committee on March 25, by a vote of 16-4.
Since then, our coalition negotiated amendments with the Illinois State Board of Education, including a requirement that the wait period for people convicted of drug offenses be seven years after completing probation or parole. The amended bill will be heard again in committee April 22, before going to the House floor for a full vote.
CCH’s Reentry Project was represented this week by 11 leaders and community organizer Rachel Ramirez.
Leaders and advocates will continue advocacy as HB 494 moves through the state legislature.
– Jonathan Holmes, Policy Fellow