The ACLU of Florida supports passage of HB 397 and SB 334: Remove Employment Barriers for People with Past Convictions.
Whether a person with a conviction can find gainful employment is one of the most important factors in determining if that person will succeed in reintegrating into his or her community, or will commit another crime. Florida’s occupational licensing laws can block job and entrepreneurial opportunities for people returning from prison. These barriers impede and, in some cases, completely prevent people with convictions from becoming gainfully employed.
Florida law should be changed to limit the number and types of convictions that can prevent occupational licensure, certification, and permitting. Florida law should require licensing authorities to demonstrate that convictions that do prevent licensure are necessary to protect health, safety and public welfare. Moreover, people in prison should be allowed to train and obtain occupational licenses, certifications and permits while incarcerated so that they are able to enter a profession immediately upon release and return to their communities.