Skadden Fellow Tiffany Yang Submits Testimony to the DC Council Committee on Health Urging Changes to the Proposed “Removing Barriers to Occupational Licenses Amendment Act of 2017”

“The Committee applauds the introduction of this bill, which recognizes the pervasive and often insurmountable barriers to reentry that have exacerbated economic instability and homelessness in our most vulnerable communities.

Access to occupational licenses is vital for many returning citizens, and this bill takes a crucial step forward in reforming the prison-to-poverty pipeline that ensnares so many of our clients. As it is currently written, however, the bill contains ambiguous and broadly-drafted language that threatens to undermine its legislative purpose. If implemented without the revisions we propose below, this bill may sustain the very barriers to occupational licensing that it seeks to eradicate.

The Committee therefore urges the Council to adopt the following changes:

  1. Insert Time Limits on the Consideration of Adult Convictions
  2. Narrow the Broadly-Drafted Language Interpreting a “Directly Related” Conviction
  3. Require the Licensing Boards to Educate its Applicants of the Relevant Factors when Interpreting Whether a Conviction is “Directly Related” to the Sought Occupation”

Read the full tesimony here…

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