SEATTLE – The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce applauded the legislature for approving a bill that creates a path for people with criminal records to apply for occupational licenses. The bill, SHB 1553, passed the Senate today with a unanimous vote and is on its way to the governor’s desk.
The bill establishes a program where people with criminal records can apply for a Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP) through a superior court. Eligible applicants must wait for a specific amount of time after their sentencing and need to show the court that they have complied, or are complying, with all sentencing requirements.
Those who obtain a CROP would no longer be automatically disqualified for most occupational licenses. Employers are not required to hire anyone with a CROP, but will be able to hire the qualified applicant of their choice.
Maud Daudon, the Chamber’s president and CEO, said, “It’s heartening to see bipartisan legislation that will help strengthen our economy and keep people in our state from being left behind. As the Chamber takes a leadership role through our Global Cities Initiative to ensure that all of our region's residents have economic opportunity, the CROP program is yet another tool that will help qualified people access the jobs that our local employers create.”
“Today, Washington state takes a bold step to bring down employment barriers that face tens of thousands of people who are fighting to get back on their feet, but have convictions in their past,” said Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, prime sponsor of the bill. “This legislation comes as a result of three years of coalition building and I appreciate the support of the Seattle Metro Chamber. We have far more to do, but this is a critical step.”
The CROP program is part of the Chamber’s 2016 legislative agenda. The Chamber and the Greater Seattle Business Association recently sent a joint letter encouraging local legislators and members of the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee to support the bill.
About The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
The Seattle Metropolitan (Seattle Metro) Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most diverse network of influential business leaders in the Puget Sound region. Founded in 1882 by local business leaders, the Chamber today is an independent organization of 2,300 businesses representing a regional workforce of approximately 700,000 people. For more information, visit www.seattlechamber.com.