On January 19, 2018, the Virginia Senate voted 23 to 16 to “ban the box” on state employment applications. The bill, sponsored by Democrats Rosalyn Dance (Petersburg), Adam Ebbin (Alexandria) and Jennifer McClellan (Richmond), would bar state agencies and localities from including on an employment application a question about whether the prospective employee has ever been arrested, charged with, or convicted of a crime – with certain exceptions. A prospective employee could not be asked if he or she has been convicted of a crime unless he has received a conditional offer of employment. The offer could be withdrawn if the worker has a conviction that directly relates to the position’s duties.

“This is about second chances,” said Sen. Rosalyn Dance. “Those who have paid their debts to society should be given the opportunity to be a productive member of society.”

Local governments would also be permitted to implement their own “ban the box” laws for local government positions. The bill now goes to the Virginia House of Delegates.