BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1650
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 4, 2014

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                 AB 1650 (Jones-Sawyer) - As Amended:  April 1, 2014 

          Policy Committee:                               
          JudiciaryVote:10-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill:

          1)Prohibits the state accepting a bid from a bidder that asks an  
            applicant for onsite construction-related employment to  
            disclose their conviction history at the time of the initial  
            employment application.

          2)Establishes that (1) does not apply to:

             a)   A position for which the bidder or the contracting  
               agency is otherwise required by law conduct a conviction  
               history background check or for any contract position with  
               a criminal justice agency.

             b)   Where the bidder is subject to a collective bargaining  
               agreement with its employees consistent with (1).

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)To the extent the bill's requirement would dissuade  
            noncompliant contractors from bidding on some state public  
            works contracts, there would be reduced competition, which  
            tends to increase contract costs somewhat. Since the bill does  
            not completely prohibit a contractor from inquiring about an  
            applicant's conviction history-only from doing so during the  
            initial application process-it is assumed that most  
            contractors would adjust their practices accordingly in order  
            to continue seeking state contracts. Nevertheless, given that  
            state public works contracts total several billion dollars  
            annually, the impact describe above could be sufficient to  








                                                                  AB 1650
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            increase contract costs by more than $150,000 annually.

          2)The state may incur investigation-related costs to the extent  
            it is presented with information that a bidder was not in  
            compliance with the bill's requirements. The number of such  
            cases is unknown, but the costs could be significant,  
            involving investigative personnel and legal staff.

          3)If a state contractor was subsequently found to have been in  
            violation of the bill's requirements, there could be  
            additional costs to void the contract and engage another  
            contractor.

           

          COMMENTS  

           1)Purpose  . According to the author, this bill attempts to  
            address three issues: (a) discriminatory employment practices  
            for individuals with prior criminal convictions; (b) high  
            unemployment rates for individuals with criminal backgrounds;  
            and (c) high recidivism rates within California. 

            The author states, "[f]elony convictions are often treated as  
            an automatic disqualification in employment application  
            procedures. Without much justification individuals with  
            criminal records are excluded from being considered for  
            employment. According to a 2009 Joyce Foundation's report  
            titled, "Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration," employment  
            rates for former prisoners during the year following release  
            exceeds 50 percent across the United States. Studies have  
            implicated that there is a direct co-relation present between  
            the rates of recidivism and the lack of employment for  
            individuals with criminal backgrounds."

           2)Suggested Amendment  . Rather than prohibiting the state from  
            accepting a bid from a noncompliant bidder, it might be  
            preferable to require, as a condition for bidding on a state  
            public works contract, that the bidder certify compliance that  
            the bidder does not require an applicant to provide conviction  
            history on the initial application for employment.

           3)Prior Legislation  . AB 218 (Dickinson)/Statutes of 2013,  
            prohibits state and local agencies from inquiring about  
            conviction history in their initial employment applications.  








                                                                  AB 1650
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            AB 218 provides a similar exemption to this requirement  
            regarding applications for positions required by law to  
            include a conviction history background check and for  
            positions in criminal justice agencies.

            In 2013, AB 970 (Jones-Sawyer), which applied the same  
            prohibition as AB 1650, but to all state contracts, was held  
            on this committee's Suspense File.

            In January 2014, AB 1198 (Jones-Sawyer), which was similar to  
            AB 970, was held in the Assembly Accountability and  
            Administrative Review Committee.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081