Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5781

February Session, 2006

 

LCO No. 3003

 

*03003_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING CERTIFICATES OF EMPLOYABILITY AND REHABILITATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2006) For the purposes of sections 1 to 6, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Barrier" means a denial of employment or a license based on an eligible offender's conviction of a crime without due consideration of whether the nature of the crime bears a direct relationship to such employment or license;

(2) "Certificate of employability" means a document issued to an eligible offender by the Superior Court or the Board of Pardons and Paroles pursuant to section 3 or 4 of this act;

(3) "Eligible offender" means a person who has been convicted of a crime or crimes in this state or another jurisdiction and who is a resident of this state;

(4) "Forfeiture" means a disqualification or ineligibility for employment or a license by reason of law based on an eligible offender's conviction of a crime;

(5) "Employment" means any remunerative work, occupation or vocation or any form of vocational training, but does not include employment with a law enforcement agency;

(6) "Employer" means the state and any political subdivision of the state; and

(7) "License" means any license, permit, certificate or registration that is required to be issued by the state or any of its agencies to pursue, practice or engage in an occupation, trade, vocation, profession or business.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2006) The Superior Court and the Board of Pardons and Paroles may issue a certificate of employability pursuant to section 3 or 4 of this act, as the case may be, to relieve an eligible offender of barriers or forfeitures by reason of such person's conviction of the crime or crimes specified in such certificate. Such certificate may be limited to one or more enumerated barriers or forfeitures or may relieve the eligible offender of all barriers and forfeitures. No certificate shall apply or be construed to apply to the right of such person to retain or be eligible for public office.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2006) (a) Any superior court may, in its discretion, issue a certificate of employability in accordance with this section to an eligible offender for a conviction that occurred in the superior court or in a court of another jurisdiction if the court imposed a sentence that did not involve commitment to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction or imposed a sentence of a term of imprisonment with commitment to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction for two years or less. Such certificate may be issued at the time of sentencing or at any time after sentencing, upon verified application by the eligible offender.

(b) The court shall not grant a certificate of employability unless the court is satisfied that:

(1) The person to whom the certificate is to be granted is an eligible offender;

(2) The relief to be granted by the certificate may promote the public policy of rehabilitation of ex-offenders through employment; and

(3) The relief to be granted by the certificate is consistent with the public interest in public safety and the protection of property.

(c) In accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, the court may limit the applicability of the certificate of employability to specified types of employment or licenses for which the eligible offender is otherwise qualified.

(d) The court may, for the purpose of determining whether such certificate should be issued, request the Court Support Services Division to conduct an investigation of the applicant and submit to the court a report of its investigation. Any written report submitted to the court pursuant to this subsection shall be confidential and not disclosed except where required or permitted by any provision of the general statutes or upon specific authorization of the court. The court may make such report available for examination by the applicant or the applicant's attorney and afford the applicant or the applicant's attorney an opportunity to controvert or comment upon any portion of the report.

(e) If the court has imposed a sentence of a term of imprisonment, with the execution of such sentence of imprisonment suspended entirely or after a period set by the court, and a period of probation or conditional discharge, and a certificate of employability is issued prior to the completion of such period of probation or conditional discharge, the certificate shall be deemed to be a temporary certificate until the person completes such person's period of probation or conditional discharge or such period of probation or conditional discharge is terminated for a violation of any of the conditions of such person's probation or conditional discharge. During the period that such certificate is temporary, the court (1) may revoke such certificate for violation of the conditions of such person's probation or conditional discharge, and (2) shall revoke such certificate if the court revokes such person's probation or conditional discharge and commits the person to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction. Prior to any such revocation, the court shall give such person notice and an opportunity to be heard. If the certificate of employability is not revoked, it shall become a permanent certificate upon completion of such person's period of probation or conditional discharge.

(f) Any court that has issued a certificate of employability may at any time issue a new certificate to enlarge the relief previously granted, and the provisions of subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, of this section shall apply to the issuance of any new certificate.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2006) (a) The Board of Pardons and Paroles may, in its discretion, issue a certificate of employability to an eligible offender who has been committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction for more than two years. The board may issue such certificate at the time the board releases such person on parole or at any time thereafter, upon verified application of such person.

(b) The board shall not grant a certificate of employability unless the board is satisfied that:

(1) The person to whom the certificate is to be granted is an eligible offender;

(2) The relief to be granted by the certificate may promote the public policy of rehabilitation of ex-offenders through employment; and

(3) The relief to be granted by the certificate is consistent with the public interest in public safety and the protection of property.

(c) In accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, the board may limit the applicability of the certificate of employability to specified types of employment or licenses for which the eligible offender is otherwise qualified.

(d) The board may, for the purpose of determining whether such certificate should be issued, request its staff to conduct an investigation of the applicant and submit to the board a report of the investigation. Any written report submitted to the board pursuant to this subsection shall be confidential and not disclosed except where required or permitted by any provision of the general statutes or upon specific authorization of the board. The board may make such report available for examination by the applicant or the applicant's attorney and afford the applicant or the applicant's attorney an opportunity to controvert or comment upon any portion of the report.

(e) If a certificate of employability is issued by the board while an eligible offender is under the board's supervision, the certificate shall be deemed to be a temporary certificate until the person completes such person's period of parole and is discharged from the board's supervision. During the period that such certificate is temporary, the board may revoke such certificate for violation of the conditions of such person's parole. Prior to any such revocation, the board shall give such person notice and an opportunity to be heard. If the certificate is not revoked, it shall become a permanent certificate upon completion of such person's period of parole and discharge from the board's supervision.

(f) The board may at any time issue a new certificate to enlarge the relief previously granted, and the provisions of subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, of this section shall apply to the issuance of any new certificate.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2006) The application for a certificate of employability, the certificate of employability and the revocation of a certificate of employability shall be in such form and contain such information as the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Chief Court Administrator together shall prescribe.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2006) (a) Each state agency that issues licenses shall collect and maintain data on the number of eligible offenders who (1) presented a certificate of employability and were (A) issued a license, or (B) denied a license, and (2) did not present a certificate of employability and were (A) issued a license, or (B) denied a license.

(b) The Chief Court Administrator and the Board of Pardons and Paroles shall collect and maintain data on the number of eligible offenders who (1) applied for a certificate of employability, and (2) were (A) issued a certificate, and (B) denied a certificate.

Sec. 7. Section 46a-80 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and subsection (b) of section 46a-81, and notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, a person shall not be disqualified from employment by the state of Connecticut or any of its agencies, nor shall a person be disqualified to practice, pursue or engage in any occupation, trade, vocation, profession or business for which a license, permit, certificate or registration is required to be issued by the state of Connecticut or any of its agencies solely because of a prior conviction of a crime.

(b) A person may be denied employment by the state or any of its agencies, or a person may be denied a license, permit, certificate or registration to pursue, practice or engage in an occupation, trade, vocation, profession or business by reason of the prior conviction of a crime if after considering (1) the nature of the crime and its relationship to the job for which the person has applied; (2) information pertaining to the degree of rehabilitation of the convicted person; and (3) the time elapsed since the conviction or release, the state [,] or any of its agencies determines that the [applicant is not suitable for the position of employment sought or the specific occupation, trade, vocation, profession or business for which the license, permit, certificate or registration is sought] nature of the crime has a direct bearing on such person's fitness or ability to perform one or more of the duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the employment or license, permit, certificate or registration sought, the person is not sufficiently rehabilitated or insufficient time has elapsed since the conviction or release. In making a determination pursuant to this subsection, the state or any of its agencies shall also give consideration to a certificate of employability issued pursuant to section 3 or 4 of this act, which certificate shall create a presumption of rehabilitation and passage of sufficient time since the conviction or release with respect to the crime or crimes specified in the certificate.

(c) If a conviction of a crime is used as a basis for rejection of an applicant, such rejection shall be in writing and specifically state the evidence presented and reasons for rejection. A copy of such rejection shall be sent by registered mail to the applicant.

(d) In no case may records of arrest, which are not followed by a conviction, or records of convictions, which have been erased, be used, distributed or disseminated by the state or any of its agencies in connection with an application for employment or for a permit, license, certificate or registration.

Sec. 8. Section 46a-99 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of any provision of sections 46a-70 to 46a-78, inclusive, section 46a-80, as amended by this act, or sections 46a-81h to 46a-81o, inclusive, may petition the Superior Court for appropriate relief and said court shall have the power to grant such relief, by injunction or otherwise, as it deems just and suitable.

Sec. 9. Section 54-130a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) Jurisdiction over the granting of, and the authority to grant, commutations of punishment or releases, conditioned or absolute, in the case of any person convicted of any offense against the state and commutations from the penalty of death shall be vested in the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

(b) Said board shall have authority to grant pardons, conditioned, provisional or absolute, for any offense against the state at any time after the imposition and before or after the service of any sentence.

(c) Whenever the board grants an absolute pardon to any person, the secretary of said board shall cause notification of such pardon to be made in writing to the clerk of the court in which such person was convicted, or the Office of the Chief Court Administrator if such person was convicted in the Court of Common Pleas, the Circuit Court, a municipal court, or a trial justice court.

(d) Whenever the board grants a provisional pardon to any person, it shall issue a certificate of rehabilitation to such person. The secretary of the board shall cause notification of such pardon to be made in writing to the clerk of the court in which such person was convicted. The granting of a provisional pardon and the issuance of a certificate of rehabilitation does not entitle such person to erasure of the record of the conviction of the offense or relieve such person from disclosing the existence of such conviction as may be required. The chairperson of the board, in consultation with the executive director, shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 concerning the application process for and criteria for the granting of provisional pardons.

Sec. 10. Section 31-51i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) For the purposes of this section, "employer" means any person engaged in business who has one or more employees, including the state or any political subdivision of the state.

(b) No employer or an employer's agent, representative or designee may require an employee or prospective employee to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a.

(c) An employment application form that contains any question concerning the criminal history of the applicant shall contain a notice, in clear and conspicuous language: (1) That the applicant is not required to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a, (2) that criminal records subject to erasure pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a are records pertaining to a finding of delinquency or that a child was a member of a family with service needs, an adjudication as a youthful offender, a criminal charge that has been dismissed or nolled, a criminal charge for which the person has been found not guilty or a conviction for which the person received an absolute pardon, and (3) that any person whose criminal records have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a shall be deemed to have never been arrested within the meaning of the general statutes with respect to the proceedings so erased and may so swear under oath.

(d) No employer or an employer's agent, representative or designee shall deny employment to a prospective employee solely on the basis that the prospective employee had a prior arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a or that the prospective employee had a prior conviction for which the prospective employee has received a provisional pardon pursuant to section 54-130a, as amended by this act.

(e) No employer or an employer's agent, representative or designee shall discharge, or cause to be discharged, or in any manner discriminate against, any employee solely on the basis that the employee had, prior to being employed by such employer, an arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a or that the employee had, prior to being employed by such employer, a prior conviction for which the prospective employee has received a provisional pardon pursuant to section 54-130a, as amended by this act.

(f) The portion of an employment application form which contains information concerning the criminal history record of an applicant or employee shall only be available to the members of the personnel department of the company, firm or corporation or, if the company, firm or corporation does not have a personnel department, the person in charge of employment, and to any employee or member of the company, firm or corporation, or an agent of such employee or member, involved in the interviewing of the applicant.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, the portion of an employment application form which contains information concerning the criminal history record of an applicant or employee may be made available as necessary to persons other than those specified in said subsection (f) by:

(1) A broker-dealer or investment adviser registered under chapter 672a in connection with (A) the possible or actual filing of, or the collection or retention of information contained in, a form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer, (B) the compliance responsibilities of such broker-dealer or investment adviser under state or federal law, or (C) the applicable rules of self-regulatory organizations promulgated in accordance with federal law;

(2) An insured depository institution in connection with (A) the management of risks related to safety and soundness, security or privacy of such institution, (B) any waiver that may possibly or actually be sought by such institution pursuant to section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 USC 1829(a), (C) the possible or actual obtaining by such institution of any security or fidelity bond, or (D) the compliance responsibilities of such institution under state or federal law; and

(3) An insurance producer licensed under chapter 701a in connection with (A) the management of risks related to security or privacy of such insurance producer, or (B) the compliance responsibilities of such insurance producer under state or federal law.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2006

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2006

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2006

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2006

New section

Sec. 5

October 1, 2006

New section

Sec. 6

October 1, 2006

New section

Sec. 7

October 1, 2006

46a-80

Sec. 8

October 1, 2006

46a-99

Sec. 9

October 1, 2006

54-130a

Sec. 10

October 1, 2006

31-51i

Statement of Purpose:

To promote the rehabilitation of offenders by authorizing the issuance of a certificate of employability to assist eligible offenders in overcoming barriers to being employed or holding state licenses or permits, and to authorize the Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant provisional pardons and certificates of rehabilitation.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]