SAINT PAUL, Minn.- Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the “Ban the Box” legislation with a 82-47 vote. The bill, HF 375, chief authored by Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL-Saint Paul) will prohibit appointing authorities from inquiring into an employment applicant’s criminal history when making appointments to public boards, commissions, task forces, or other entities referred to in law as “multimember agencies.”
“Our state is committing a grave disservice to our communities when we dismiss and marginalize people solely based on their criminal history,” said Rep. Hollins. “As we work towards building a more inclusive state, we must reform current laws that perpetuate systems of harm and isolation. People from BIPOC communities are disproportionately discouraged by the appointment application process when they should be encouraged to share their story of redemption, growth, and healing.”
Minnesota is a leader in ‘banning the box’ as we work towards reforming our executive branch with an equitable and racialized lens. Everyone should have an opportunity to establish their qualification, experience, and unique skill sets rather than being shadowed and eliminated from consideration based on their criminal history.
‘Banning the box’ advances our state trajectory to diversify our boards, commissions, and task forces with individuals who represent and reflect the communities they serve. Rather than dismissing someone for their previous mistakes, prospective applicants can participate in a human-centered approach with dignified processes to ensure they are seen for who they are in the present not the past. Appointing authorities still have the right to conduct a background check after the applicant is appointed to the role.