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Individuals with criminal backgrounds experience a greater disadvantage in transitioning back into society. Ex-offenders face a magnitude of restrictions during their probationary period, including limited employment opportunities and exclusion from receiving support with basic needs such as supplemental food assistance (SNAP) benefits, subsidized housing and other safety net programs.
The Illinois General Assembly needs to review and consider removing mandatory licensing restrictions to employment. State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford of the 8th District stated, “It’s un-American to be excluded from life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness. America is supposed to be the land that welcomes hope and opportunities. Lifetime bans for qualified workers go against the morals of America.”
Rep. Marcus C. Evans Jr. of the 33rd District and vice chair of the House Business and Occupational Licenses committee filed House Bill 5973, which provides that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation “may not refuse” to issue a license because of convictions unless the crime substantially and directly relates to the occupation for which the license is sought.