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Md. lawmakers delay veto override vote on ‘ban the box’ bill

Adam Bednar//January 21, 2020

Md. lawmakers delay veto override vote on ‘ban the box’ bill

By Adam Bednar

//January 21, 2020

Del. Nick Mosby (The Daily Record/File Photo)
Del. Nick Mosby (The Daily Record/File Photo)

(UPDATED) — The House of Delegates is slated to act on overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the so-called “ban the box” bill on Jan. 30 after delaying a vote slated for Tuesday.

The House scheduled the override vote late last week. The bill’s lead sponsor, Del. Nick Mosby, emailed a single-sentence advisory late Monday night that the vote was postponed. Mosby, D- Baltimore,  could not be reached for comment.

Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County have passed their own versions of the ban the box bill. If the legislature overrides the governor Maryland would become the 12th state to enact legislation limiting when businesses can start the criminal screening process.

Hogan vetoed the bill last year. In a letter sent to the legislature’s leaders in May, the governor said he was rejecting the legislation because it delays a company’s hiring process, wastes time and resources.

“By the point an employer discovers a potential employee has a criminal background, alternative candidates may no longer be available for hire, forcing employers to restart the entire process,” Hogan wrote.

Supporters of the bill argue the measure is needed to give people previously convicted of a crime a fair shot at finding employment once they’ve paid the penalty for their crime.

The legislation prevents businesses from requiring job applicants from disclosing whether they have a criminal record, or have faced criminal charges, prior to an in-person interview.

The bill also provides penalties for companies that fail to comply with the new regulations.

The bill would allow a job applicant or an employee to file a written complaint to Maryland’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry, which could investigate the allegations and assess a civil penalty of up to $300 per incident.

Those regulations, however, only apply to businesses with at least 15 employees. Businesses providing programs, services, or direct care to minors and vulnerable adults also would be exempt.

Legislative analysts said that the bill, if enacted, would have a minimal fiscal impact on local and state governments as well as on small businesses.

Overriding the governor’s veto requires 60% of legislators in each chamber of the General Assembly voting in favor of reversing the governor. Last year House Bill 994 and Senate Bill 839 passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 96-37 and the Senate by a vote of 30-15. If those votes hold there’s enough support to override the governor.


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