Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. explained his reasons for vetoing the Maryland Ban the Box legislation (Senate Bill 839 and House Bill 994) in a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House. In that letter, he notes that hiring the right team is “one of the most critical activities a business does” and that requiring a business to wait to ask an applicant about his or her criminal history until the first in-person interview would result in “costly and time-consuming human resource work that ultimately goes nowhere.”
The Governor also mentions hiring delays, wasted time and resources, additional costs without adequate returns, and safety concerns as his numerous reasons for the veto. In particular, with regard to safety, he notes the exemption for children and vulnerable adults, which begs the question – what about everyone else? The legislation also contained what he called “dangerous preemption language,” which would have allowed for even more restrictive laws in counties and municipalities throughout the state. This, he said, would have created an undue burden on businesses in attempting to comply with various restrictions across the borders in which they do business.
The Governor was sure to emphasize that he was not minimizing the importance of giving individuals opportunities to rebuild and that his office, along with others, have taken appropriate steps to help support this process. However, he feels strongly that the ultimate decision of when and how to ask an applicant about their criminal histories should be left to employers.
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