‘Ban the box’: Proposed KC ordinance would prevent employers, landlords from asking about felony charges

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you've ever been convicted of a felony, it might get easier to find a job and housing.

Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed is proposing a new ordinance to "ban the box." It would prevent employers and landlords in the city from having a box on applications that asks if you've had a felony conviction.

The city has "banned the box" since 2013 and said it's been a big success. Employers can still do background checks, which could prevent someone from getting hired. But getting rid of the check box can help eliminate the stigma and prevent qualified candidates from getting hired just because of their criminal history.

"It’s on the employer to make the decision as to whether or not we hire this individual. But this eliminates one barrier for people in our community who want to return back and be very productive members of our community," Reed said.

The "ban the box" ordinance had a first reading during Thursday's council meeting. It now moves to the transportation and infrastructure committee for further review. That committee meets next Thursday.

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