SANTA FE – The New Mexico state Senate has approved a bill that would remove criminal history questions from initial job applications in the private sector.
The Senate voted 28-11 to pass the initiative from Democratic Sen. Bill O’Neill of Albuquerque. The bill moves the House.
A similar bill was vetoed in 2017 by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. The arrival of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has opened the door to new criminal-justice reform proposals that stress rehabilitation.
Under the new bill, private employers may take prior convictions into consideration after an initial review of the job application and a discussion of employment.
Similar “ban the box” regulations that eliminate prior convictions from checklists on job applications have been adopted in at least 11 states that include California, Illinois and Washington.