Senate approves occupational licensing reform

The Senate has given approval to Senate Bill 1691, which builds upon previously passed occupational licensing reforms and would be transformational for job-seeking Oklahomans with criminal records to seize their second chance.

The measure, authored by Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, adds to current state law on occupational licensure so a criminal record could only be grounds for license denial if the offense substantially relates to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation and poses a reasonable threat to public safety. Each licensing board would be required to consider the seriousness of the crime, amount of time that’s passed since conviction, the age of the applicant at the time the crime was committed, evidence relevant to the offense and evidence of rehabilitation.

“Currently, boards can automatically disqualify an applicant who’s committed a certain offense without an evaluation of their specific circumstance,” Taylor said. “Shifting to a factor-based review will allow boards to look at the specific circumstances of the applicant and take into account the rehabilitation and amount of time that’s taken place since the crime was committed. This type of review will open the door for many Oklahomans with a criminal record, while still protecting public safety and maintaining discretion for the licensing board.”

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