The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is voicing support for two bills aimed at easing work-related barriers for convicted felons.
Senate Bill 900, and its counterpart House Bill 2123, would allow individuals convicted of a felony to work at businesses that sell alcohol and lottery tickets, like gas stations or grocery stores.
Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick says these bills would help both employers and employees.
“It was kind of a non-partisan deal. It’s really helping people. Putting people back to work, continue to open up more jobs for more people,” McCormick explained. “But it also puts that decision-making abilities back in the hands of the employer.”
The Senate Bill is sponsored by Sen. Caleb Rowden of Columbia and Sen. Kiki Curls of Kansas City. The House Bill is sponsored by Rep. Cheri Reich of Columbia.
Reich first learned of the issue from a local attorney in Columbia.
“She has seen clients and people over the years that want to work, they want to support themselves and their families, but they are so limited in the jobs they can get,” Reich said.
Rowden’s bill is currently in committee. Reich hopes to have a hearing on her bill in the next two weeks.