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Adler takes aim at legislative attack on Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance

Friday, January 27, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Mayor Steve Adler took to the steps of the State Capitol on Thursday morning to defend Austin’s Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance. “We believe that communities must retain the ability to govern themselves and that the government closest to the people can be most reflective of government will,” Adler said, backed by a diverse crowd of approximately 40 supporters holding signs and banners in the chilly morning air. The press conference was held in response to state Rep. Paul Workman’s HB 577, which would preempt Austin’s law preventing employers from inquiring about the criminal backgrounds of potential employees until after offering to hire them. Workman’s bill would also prevent other cities from adopting similar measures. Adler argued that the ordinance, also known as Ban the Box, reduces recidivism. “If we are serious about those issues, then we have to expand employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated people. We have to give people second chances,” Adler said. The mayor was followed by San Antonio City Council Member Rey Saldaña, an aide representing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and an aide from Dallas state Rep. Eric Johnson. Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, who championed the city’s ordinance, also attended the event but did not speak.

A previous version of this Whisper referred to the bill as HB 377. It is in fact HB 577.

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