05-21-2018  9:42 pm      •     
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Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

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Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

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Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

The Latest: Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

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Paul Allen donates jumiM to Washington gun initiative

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Man accused of trying to kill woman with opioid spray

MUKILTEO, Wash. (AP) — An Everett man is accused of holding down his ex-girlfriend at a Mukilteo hotel, shoving Xanax down her throat and forcing a fentanyl spray up her nose in what police say was attempted murder.The Daily Herald reports the woman survived and was able to escape and alert...


Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...


China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — China has sentenced a Tibetan language activist to five years in prison for inciting separatism after he appeared in a documentary video produced by The New York Times.Tashi Wangchuk's lawyer Liang Xiaojun told The Associated Press that a judge in Qinghai province passed down...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

Correction: 2018 Midterms-Endorsements story

ATLANTA (AP) — In a story May 20 about potential Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign activity in 2018, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former Vice President Joe Biden was planning to campaign in North Carolina on behalf of a congressional candidate Dan...


Actress who accused Weinstein needs money to finish film

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress Paz de la Huerta has started a crowdfunding campaign to finish a movie she began making years before she publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.The movie "Valley of Tears" is her take on the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Red Shoes," about a little girl with a...

Sony invests in image sensors, acquires more of EMI Music

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to invest 1 trillion yen ( billion) mostly in image sensors over the next three years, under a revamped strategy to strengthen both hardware and creative content.Sony also plans to buy for [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion a 60...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...


Miss Nebraska wins Miss USA competition

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Sarah Rose Summers from Nebraska beat out 50 other women Monday to win this year's...

Deadly Florida airport shooting results in plea deal for man

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors filed court documents Monday in which an Alaska man agreed...

What is lava haze? A look at Hawaii's latest volcanic hazard

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is pouring into the sea and setting off a chemical...

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign begins with health workers

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo began an Ebola vaccination campaign Monday in a northwest provincial capital...

Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote

DUBLIN (AP) — In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to...

Aide: Palestinian leader making swift recovery in hospital

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is alert and making a swift recovery after being...

Arashi Young of The Skanner News

For millions of Americans, applying for jobs is an exercise in futility. Often, applications are thrown away before an employer has even considered the job-seeker.

The reason?  A criminal history revealed on a job application.

Last week, U. S. Senators Jeff Merkley, Patty Murray and Ron Wyden joined 24 other Democratic Senators to urge President Obama to “ban the box” -- referring to questions about past criminal convictions -- on federal job applications.

It is the latest action in what has become a broad social movement to reduce recidivism and give ex-convicts a second chance at employment.

Ban the Box policies prohibit employers from asking about criminal records on their job applications. The National Employment Law Project proponents say the current system artificially limits the pool of qualified job seekers.

Steady employment is a key factor in reducing recidivism among ex-convicts, according to a 2010 study published in the academic journal, Justice Quarterly.

Ban the box policies may also foster economic growth: another 2010 study estimated a loss of $57 to $65 million dollars to the U.S. economy due to unemployment and underemployment of ex-offenders.

The group of Senators sent President Obama a letter asking him to issue an executive order that would bar federal contractors from asking about criminal histories until later in the hiring process.

The letter stated, “Our nation's legal and moral underpinnings provide that anyone who makes a mistake and learns from it deserves a second chance. Those who have accepted the consequences of their actions and who have paid the price for their past transgressions should have the opportunity to re-enter the workplace.”

Fair chance hiring policies don’t compel employers to hire ex-convicts. Hiring directors maintain the right to employ the most qualified candidate – and employers are still able to use background checks to vet potential employees.

Most jurisdictions with extant Ban the Box laws require employers to wait until after an interview, or until they’ve extended a conditional offer, to investigate a job candidate’s background. These laws also exempt positions where criminal history is considered relevant to the position. 

The proposed executive action would align federal hiring policies with local and state rules. Over 100 cities and counties and 16 states have passed these restrictions, including Multnomah County, the City of Portland and the City of Seattle.

The Oregon legislature is considering a house bill that would make the policy apply statewide. The bill, HB 3025, passed the house by a 33-27 vote and has moved on to the State Senate.

In addition to these city and state laws, private sector businesses have banned the box as well. Large retail employers Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Home Depot have all stopped asking about criminal records on their job applications.

According to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, banning the box would fix flawed hiring practices.

“For the over 70 million Americans who have criminal histories, the current hiring process in America is broken. If these Americans have accepted their past actions and paid the price for those transgressions, they shouldn’t face unreasonable barriers to reentering the workplace,” Merkley said. “That’s why I’m calling on the President to take action and require all federal contractors and agencies to “Ban the Box” and refrain from asking job applicants about their criminal history until later in the hiring process.”

In addition to Merkley, Murray, Wyden, and Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, the other signing Senators are: Cory Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Chris Murphy (CT), Chris Coons (DE), Dick Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Ed Markey (MA), Tim Kaine (VA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Mazie Hirono (HI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Mark Warner (VA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Tom Udall (NM), Tom Carper (DE), Ben Cardin (MD), Jack Reed (RI), Joe Manchin (WV), Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Brian Schatz (HI).

The full text of the letter can be found below:


Ban the Box Letter

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