Last Thursday, Tampa’s City Council declined to pass a law that would have “banned the box” for city contractors.  “Ban the box” refers to a movement at the state and local levels of government to remove the check box from job applications that ask whether the candidate has a criminal history.  In lieu of banning the box, the City Council voted to draft legislation requiring the City to ask bidders for contracts whether they solicit criminal history in their job applications.  The intent behind the legislation is to encourage contractors to voluntarily “ban the box.”

Though Tampa did not ban the box for city contractors, in recent years, several jurisdictions have, including in California (for construction contractors), Compton (CA), Richmond (CA), Hartford (CT), New Haven (CT), Indianapolis (IN), Louisville (KY), Boston (MA), Cambridge (MA), Worcester, (MA), Detroit (MI), Atlantic City (NJ), New York City (NY) (for human services contractors), Pittsburgh (PA), and Syracuse (NY)Delaware and Madison (WI) have “encouraged” the same.

In addition, six states—Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—and twelve localities— Baltimore (MD), Buffalo (NY), Chicago (IL), Columbia (MO), D.C., Montgomery County (MD), Newark (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), Prince George’s County (MD), Rochester (NY), Seattle (WA), and San Francisco (CA)—have “banned the box” for private employers (either expressly or implicitly covering government contractors).