On February 7, the Washington State House of Representatives approved a bill that would “ban the box” and prohibit requests about past criminal history in initial employment applications. According to The Spokesman-Review, the bill, dubbed the “Fair Chance Act,” passed on a mostly partisan vote after supporters said it was important to give people a second chance and opponents said was unfair to businesses.

“You have to get through that door. The only way to do it is not to mark that box,” Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, said. “This is a bill of justice.”

Before voting on the Fair Chance Act, the House narrowly rejected an amendment that would have kept cities like Spokane from having stricter requirements than the state. The Spokane City Council adopted its own “ban the box” ordinance in November 2017.

The state bill allows a warning from the state attorney general for the first offense and a fine on the second offense.

The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote, then to Governor Jay Inslee for signature if approved by the Senate.