House Bill 1373 Significantly Expands Employment, Second Chance Opportunities for those With Criminal Records; Heads to Governor Kevin Stitt for Signature
(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – Today, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved House Bill 1373, landmark legislation that significantly expands occupational licensing opportunities for those with unrelated criminal records. The bill was approved with a 90-2 vote in the House after a unanimous 42-0 vote in the Senate. It now heads to Governor Kevin Stitt for his signature.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Zack Taylor (R-District 28) and Senator Julie Daniels (R-District 29), and endorsed by Governor Stitt, will open new doors to employment for those with criminal records by requiring state entities charged with oversight over occupational licenses to explicitly list the criminal records that would disqualify an applicant from receiving a license, and requires these entities to only list offenses that are specifically and directly related to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation. The legislation also removes broad, unclear mandates from individual licensing statutes that make it difficult for individuals with any past criminal history from obtaining a license, such as requiring individuals to possess “good moral character” or have never been convicted of a crime “of moral turpitude”.
“Today’s vote opens doors to opportunity and employment for thousands of Oklahomans looking for meaningful employment and a second chance,” said Jenna Moll, Deputy Director of the Justice Action Network. “Thanks to this legislation, those with an unrelated and long-past criminal record in Oklahoma will no longer be barred from obtaining an occupational license that will help them find jobs and contribute to society, which will increase employment opportunities and public safety while decreasing recidivism. We applaud Representative Taylor for his vision and dedication to getting this issue across the finish line in the House, Senator Daniels for working hard to pass this unanimously in the Senate, and we thank Governor Stitt for including this in his priority agenda for 2019.”