JOTF: Job Opportunities Task Force
JOTF Weekly Public Policy Update / January 28, 2011

The Job Opportunities Task Force is pleased to bring you this week's public policy update of the 2011 state legislative session. These weekly updates provide information on legislation, budgets, and other state policy activities that impact working families in Maryland.

Click here to view JOTF’s 2011 Policy Agenda. For more information about the items discussed in this update, please contact Melissa Broome at 410-234-8046.

Job Applicant Fairness Act - Senate Hearing on 2/10/11

SB 132 will be heard before the Senate Finance Committee on February 10 at 1pm.  Contact Melissa Broome if you are able to provide written or oral testimony.

Click here for a complete list of organizations that have signed on to show their official support of the Job Applicant Fairness Act, which will limit employers from using credit checks in the hiring process.

Please help grow our coalition of supporters by completing the
Sign-On Letter and returning it to JOTF.   



Job Applicant Fairness Act - Credit Checks 

SB 132
HB 87


60% of employers use credit history checks as a tool in their pre-employment screening, even if the information has no relation to the job.  In these trying economic times, many Marylanders are experiencing financial hardship, which negatively impacts their credit.  In addition, uncovered medical expenses and divorce are some of the leading causes of blemished credit.  The proposed legislation would limit employers' use of credit checks in hiring.

SB 132 hearing in Senate Finance on 2/10/11 at 1pm. 

Help us grow our coalition of supporters.  Click here for a sign-on letter that will enable us to list you as an official supporter of the bill. 

Do you know someone who has experienced difficulty securing employment due to poor credit?  If so, please contact Melissa Broome at (410) 234-8046.

Read JOTF's fact sheet on the Job Applicant Fairness Act.

In the Press:
Huffington Post Article

Ban the Box

The State of Maryland should encourage all qualified applicants, including those with a prior criminal conviction history, to apply for State employment.  The proposed legislation would remove the question from state job applications that asks applicants to check a box if they have ever been convicted a crime.  Removing the question from the application simply allows applicants to get a foot in the door and prove their qualifications rather than be automatically dismissed because of a box they checked at the beginning of the process.  

Awaiting bill introduction.

Read JOTF's fact sheet on banning the box.

Parole Fees Persons on parole in Maryland are billed $40 per month for their supervision.  The fee is largely uncollectible since most parolees are in dire financial situations.  The imposition of the fee is out of line with Maryland's commitment toward policies that protect the public by promoting successful reentry of parolees.  The proposed legislation would ensure that parolees be adequately informed of and have access to the fee exemption process.  Awaiting bill introduction. Read JOTF's fact sheet on parole fees.

the Brennan Center for Justice Report: Maryland's Parole Supervision Fee: A Barrier to Reentry


0.5% Transportation Training Fund States are permitted to use up to 0.5% of their federal transportation dollars for workforce training.  Maryland should take advantage of this opportunity to link workforce and economic development.  Providing training and linking graduates to jobs on major infrastructure projects would strengthen Maryland's commitment to a healthy workforce by creating pathways to employment for disadvantaged, underemployed Awaiting bill introduction. Read JOTF's synopsis.
Driver's Licensing for Adults Maryland is the only state in the nation that requires drivers of all ages to complete the same driver's education and practice requirements.  Most significantly, all new drivers must complete 60 hours of supervised practice, in addition to 36 hours of driver's education, before being eligible for a license.  These requirements have created a barrier to mobility and employment for low-income adults.  The proposed legislation would eliminate the 60-hour rule and reduce the time for holding a provisional license from 9 months to 45 days for new drivers over the age of 18. Awaiting bill introduction. Read JOTF's report: The 60-Hour Practice Driving Law: Unintended Consequences for Maryland's Economy


Earned Income Credit Information Act The proposed legislation would require employers to notify employees who may be eligible for Maryland's Earned Income Tax Credit.  Awaiting bill introduction.

Maryland Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act

The Maryland HOME Act of 2011 would prohibit landlords from discriminating against rental applicants based solely on the applicant's source of lawful income.  "Source of income" means any lawful source of funds to be used in the rental of housing such as housing choice vouchers, veterans affairs supportive housing vouchers, or any other form of public assistance.

Awaiting bill introduction.


Inmate Aftercare Plans

SB 242
The proposed legislattion would require a comprehensive aftercare plan to be developed in collaboration with community programs and government agencies that serve ex-offenders before an inmate exits the prerelease unit. Awaiting hearing date.

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