Representative Blumenauer Introduces Bills to “Ban the Box” on Federal Job Applications, Reform Student Financial Aid Applications

September 10, 2015
Press Release

Legislation Part of Rep. Blumenauer’s Broader Efforts on Criminal Justice Reform

Washington, DC – As part of his broader effort to reform the U.S. criminal justice system, today Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), introduced the Fair Chance Act to ensure fair chance hiring policies in the federal government. This legislation would “ban the box” and remove questions about an individual’s conviction history on federal job applications, including those for federal contractors.

According to a report by the National Employment Law Project, more than 70 million people in the United States have been arrested or have conviction records. A federal drug conviction, no matter how small, can follow a person for their entire life. Not only can it potentially limit employment opportunities, but also education. This is why Representative Blumenauer will soon introduce legislation that restores fairness to our student financial aid system by not disqualifying applicants convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana possession from federal student financial assistance. The Fair Access to Education Act also allows students whose financial aid was suspended because of misdemeanor marijuana possession to be immediately eligible for grants, loans, and work assistance.

“With the largest prison population in the world, we must find ways to restore the lives of individuals, their families, and their communities. If someone has served their sentence and attempts a new start in life, they should be given a fair chance to make a positive contribution to their community,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “The federal government should lead by example. These bills remove unfair federal hiring and education barriers to help put a stop to the cycle of recidivism.”

Efforts on Criminal Justice Reform

Representative Blumenauer is working with a number of colleagues to make sure our criminal justice system is fair and equal under the law. In addition to legislation to “ban the box,” Representative Blumenauer supports the following legislation, amongst others:

  • H.R. 1933, End Racial Profiling Act, which would eliminate profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and religion by federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
  • H.R. 1232, Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, which would end free transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement in order to preserve the important distinction between our military and our police.
  • H.R. 920, the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would increase reviews for certain drug sentences and disregard ineffective mandatory minimum sentences, helping to move non-violent offenders out of our prison system.
  • H.R. 3155, the Effective and Humane Treatment of Youth Act, which would make several changes to the way we handle youth in our prison system, including abolishing solitary confinement of offenders 21 years and younger.
  • H.R. 1459, Democracy Restoration Act, which would guarantee all citizens the right to vote in federal elections, regardless of felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions.