BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                                                       Bill No:  AB  
          1650
          
                 SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION
                           Senator Lou Correa, Chair
                           2013-2014 Regular Session
                                 Staff Analysis



          AB 1650  Author:  Jones-Sawyer
          As Amended:  May 28, 2014
          Hearing Date:  June 10, 2014
          Consultant:  Paul Donahue


                                     SUBJECT  

                 Public contracts; Bidder employment practices

                                   DESCRIPTION
           
          Requires a person bidding on certain state contracts to  
          certify that the person does not ask job applicants to  
          disclose information concerning their conviction history.  
          Specifically, this bill:

           1) Requires any person submitting a bid to the state on a  
            contract involving onsite construction-related services  
            to certify that the person does not ask an applicant for  
            onsite construction-related employment to disclose orally  
            or in writing information concerning the applicant's  
            conviction history.

           2) Does not require this certification if the bidder or  
            state agency is otherwise required by state or federal  
            law to conduct a conviction history background check, or  
            in any contract position with a "criminal justice  













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            agency." <1>

           3) Does not require this certification when the person  
            submitting the bid obtains workers from a hiring hall  
            pursuant to a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.

                                   EXISTING LAW

            1) The State Contract Act regulates contracting between  
            state agencies and private contractors, and outlines  
            requirements for bidding and awarding of contracts for  
            projects.

           2) Defines projects to include the construction or other  
            improvement to a state structure, building, road or other  
            state improvement of any kind that will exceed a total  
            cost of $250,000 for the 2010 calendar year, as adjusted  
            every 2 years. 

           3) Prohibits employers from asking applicants for  
            employment to disclose information concerning convictions  
            that have been sealed, expunged, or statutorily  
            eradicated, and certain marijuana-related convictions if  
            the convictions are more than 2 years old. 

           4) Prohibits a state or local agency from asking an  
            applicant to disclose information regarding a criminal  
            conviction, except as specified, until the agency has  
            determined the applicant meets the minimum employment  
            qualifications, as stated in any notice issued for the  
            position.

                                    BACKGROUND
           
           Purpose  : According to the author, "men and women released  
          from prison often face daunting obstacles as they return  
          home to their communities, however none can be more  
          difficult than finding employment. According to a survey of  
          -------------------------
          <1> Penal Code  13101 describes criminal justice agencies  
          to include agencies at all levels of government that  
          perform as their principal functions, activities which  
          either relate to the apprehension, prosecution,  
          adjudication, incarceration, or correction of criminal  
          offenders or relate to the collection, storage,  
          dissemination or usage of criminal offender record  
          information.





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          over 619 Los Angeles County employers, only 20% said they  
          would hire people with prior convictions. Former prisoners  
          are often concentrated in a relatively small number of  
          distressed urban neighborhoods that lack the resources  
          needed to assist them in the reentry process. Not  
          surprisingly, after being unable to find a job, many end up  
          returning to prison, a disastrous result for them, their  
          families, communities, taxpayers, and public safety.

          "Across California, felony 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 the California Research Bureau,  
          California parolees have an unemployment rate of 80%.  
          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.

          "In order to fight this alarming trend six states, 32 U.S.  
          cities and 8 cities and counties across California  
          including San Francisco, Richmond & Alameda County have  
          removed the conviction history box from job applications in  
          public employment and contractors who conduct business with  
          the public. These entities have recognized that stable  
          employment is critical to a successful transition into the  
          community. According to a study in Illinois that followed  
          1,600 individuals recently released from state prison, only  
          8% of those who were employed for a year or more committed  
          another crime, compared to the state's 54% average  
          recidivism rate. 

          "Removing the conviction history box can give thousands of  
          individuals a fair shot at employment while simultaneously  
          decreasing the recidivism rate, increasing economic  
          activity and improving public safety."

           Scope and applicability  : This bill concerns when - not  
          whether - state contractors may obtain criminal conviction  
          information from applicants for on-site  
          construction-related employment. Under the bill, this  
          information may be sought and considered after the state  
          contractor has determined that the applicant meets the  
          minimum qualifications for the job. The bill exempts  
          contract positions in all criminal justice agencies, as  
          well as all positions with any employer for which a  





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          criminal background investigation is legally required.  
          Supporters note that last year California joined a number  
          of other states and local governments by adopting AB 218  
          (Dickinson) which established a similar but more expansive  
          policy for state and local government as this bill proposes  
          for state contractors.

                            PRIOR/RELATED LEGISLATION
           
          AB 218 (Dickinson), Chapter 699, Statutes of 2013. With  
          certain exceptions, provides that a state or local agency  
          shall not ask an applicant for employment to disclose,  
          orally or in writing, information concerning the conviction  
          history of the applicant, including any inquiry about  
          conviction history on any employment application, until the  
          agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum  
          employment qualifications, as stated in any notice issued  
          for the position.

          AB 1198 (Jones-Sawyer), 2013-2014 Session. Would have  
          prohibited the state from contracting with a person or  
          entity that asks an applicant for employment who will  
          assist the person or entity in fulfilling the contract with  
          the state to disclose information concerning the conviction  
          history of the applicant, unless the employer has  
          determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment  
          qualifications as stated in any notice issued for the  
          position. (Held in Assembly Accountability and  
          Administrative Review Committee)

          AB 870 (Jones-Sawyer), 2013-2014 Session. Would have  
          prohibited the state from contracting with a person or  
          entity that asks an applicant for employment to disclose  
          information concerning the conviction history of the  
          applicant, including an inquiry about conviction history on  
          an employment application, until the employer has  
          determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment  
          qualifications, as stated in any notice issued for the  
          position. (Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee)

           SUPPORT:  

          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

           OPPOSE:   






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          None on file

           DUAL REFERRAL:   Senate Judiciary Committee
           
          FISCAL COMMITTEE:   Senate Appropriations Committee



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