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N.H. Senate Votes to Ban Businesses From Asking Applicants About Criminal Records

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has voted to prohibit businesses from asking prospective workers about their criminal records on job applications. The bill's backers say it will help workers and might help companies fill open jobs.

Twelve states—including Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island—have laws that bar criminal background questions on job applications. Concord Senator Dan Feltes told colleagues New Hampshire bill would still allow employers to ask job candidates about their criminal records -- just not on the job application itself.

"You can ask the question. You just delay it , a little bit. Just doesn't throw away people's job applications, that's it."

The bill's opponents, like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Morse, say intentions aside, it undercuts the rights of employers.

"I think a lot of what is going on right now is this body trying to make the decisions for businesses."

Every Democrat voted for the bill. They were joined by two Republicans, Harold French of Franklin, and John Reagan of Deerfield.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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