A public hearing was held Thursday to get input on two bills that would help put people back to work. State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) is overseeing a public hearing of the Small Business Empowerment and Workforce Development Committee. The topic of discussion is legislation to help former offenders find jobs.


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HB 5723 would allow a person to petition the court to seal Class 2, 3, and 4 felony conviction records for four years since the person's last sentence, unless the offense was a DUI or violent crime. Another bill referred to as the “Ban the Box” bill would prohibit questions on state employment applications about one’s non-violent criminal history, making it easier for an ex-offender to gain employment with the state.

Ford says legislators can’t ignore the bills any longer. He’s holding the hearing in Chicago Thursday in hopes of having final versions of the bills ready for a vote when lawmakers return to Springfield in the fall.

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