Fresh Start Act on its Way to the Governor

This week, the Fresh Start Act was truly agreed and finally passed. It now heads to the governor for his signature. The Fresh Start Act allows people with a criminal record to be able to get occupational licenses. The measure does include a safeguard exception in case an applicant has a criminal record directly relating to the industry in which they are applying for a license. Previously, a licensing authority could deny a professional license to people with a criminal record on broad grounds, such as moral turpitude or moral character. The Act also allows a person with a criminal record to petition the licensing authority to see if they would be eligible for a license before spending the time to go through the training or schooling needed.

Having a job is widely recognized as a way to reduce recidivism among those getting released from prison. With an estimated one in four jobs requiring an occupational license, this bill would be an important tool to finding employment. The Missouri Catholic Conference and other organizations supported the Fresh Start Act as a way to remove barriers for ex-offenders to re-enter the workforce. 

The Fresh Start Act was part of HB 2046, sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier (R-Chesterfield). This bill addresses reciprocity of licenses for people moving to Missouri from other states. It removes barriers for individuals with a license in another state from practicing in Missouri. An exemption to these rules will be made if a person has had their license revoked in another state, or if the person is under investigation.

May 19, 2020 - 10:41am
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