The race is on in 2018 to see which State can enact the most progressive new laws on restoration of rights. As in the past, Indiana is at the forefront of reform. On March 21, Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law HB 1245, which appears to be the most progressive and comprehensive scheme for regulation of occupational and professional licensure in the country. It applies not only to state licensing agencies, but also to units of county and municipal government that issue licenses, and requires that state agencies work with them to eliminate redundant and overlapping rules. Agencies must report to the legislature respecting their implementation of the new law by November 1, 2018.
In 2013, the Justice Department launched its Smart on Crime Initiative, which included a call for federal agencies to review collateral consequences in their own rules and policies, to determine which could be narrowed or amended without jeopardizing public safety. According to an NPR report, the results of that long-anticipated review are now in:
Amy Solomon was appointed by Attorney General Holder to oversee the twenty federal agencies charged with reviewing their regulations and policies for potential changes. She reports that hundreds of regulations were reviewed, but the vast majority were deemed “appropriately tailored for their purposes,” including HUD’s discretionary housing policies. So far, only three agencies have submitted changes.
In assessing the “appropriately tailored” conclusion in the context of HUD housing policies, NPR reporter Monica Haywood tells the story of Maurice Alexander, a 67-year-old man who was turned away from subsidized housing in the District of Columbia based on a six-year-old misdemeanor threat conviction, despite guidance from HUD encouraging property owners and agents “to develop policies and procedures that allow ex-offenders to rejoin the community.” The HUD guidance urges property owners to consider all relevant information when reviewing applications from people with a criminal record, including evidence of rehabilitation and “probability of favorable future conduct.”
Haywood concludes that, “If Alexander’s case is any indication, owners may not be taking HUD’s advice.” Read more