Gov. Larry Hogan has thrown his support behind legislation that would help offenders with nonviolent offenses on their criminal records to shield that information from prospective employers if they stay out of trouble for three years after completing their sentences.
Hogan's office announced Thursday that the Republican governor would sign the Maryland Second Chance Act of 2015, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the House of Delegates. It is one of several bills moving through the General Assembly that seek to make it easier for ex-offenders to rejoin society.
The measure, sponsored by Montgomery County Democratic Sen. Jamie Raskin, would allow people who have been convicted of eleven nonviolent misdemeanors to petition a court to shield information about their cases from public inspection. The information would still be available to law enforcement and certain employers who must do criminal background checks. Among the offenses that would be covered are drug possession, disorderly conduct, driving without a license and prostitution.
"A criminal record can be an insurmountable barrier to individuals seeking employment," Hogan said in a statement. "I believe in second chances, and this bill provides one by allowing those who meet certain conditions to re-enter the workforce without the stigma of a criminal background. It is not only the right thing to do but will contribute to the economic growth and development of our state."