New bill could do away with Columbias Ban the Box ordinance

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COLUMBIA - Second Ward City Councilman Michael Trapp held a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss his opposition to a bill he said would put an end to Columbia's "Ban the Box" ordinance.

Trapp held this news conference in response to an upcoming hearing in Jefferson City. The Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee is set to hear more about a bill that would, in effect, do away with the ordinance.

The Columbia City Council approved the ordinance in late 2014. It's an ordinance that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their criminal history during the first step of the application process.

State Senator Mike Kehoe is sponsoring the bill. If it ends up passing, it would take effect at the end of August.

In a news release, Councilman Trapp said "'Ban the Box' was only adopted after a lengthy extensive process of public engagement at the local level." The city spent nearly a year discussing the ordinance.

Trapp held the news conference along with Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser. They both served on the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence. It's the group that first drafted up the idea of "Ban the Box" more than a year ago.

Both Nauser and Trapp said the state should not be changing a law the city council spent months discussing. On top of plenty of discussion, Councilman Trapp said the council approved the ordinance with a unanimous vote.

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