Augusta commissioners give the green light to Ban the Box

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News 12 NBC 26 @ 11:00 / Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta commissioners talking about a new stance on hiring folks with a criminal history.

It might have taken six months, but today Augusta commissioners passed Ban the Box.

"I'm excited that it passed I think we're moving in the right direction," Augusta commissioner Ben Hasan said.

Now Augusta government job applications won't have questions about a criminal history, and that cannot be a reason not to hire someone.

"Georgia is the first southern state that enacted it, Governor Deal passed it back in 2015. Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, all of those cities are utilizing it right now," Hasan said.

Commissioner Ben Hasan says this will help with Augusta's unemployment.

"We're always talking about poverty in Augusta Richmond County is close to thirty percent, when you're talking about a way to get people gainfully employed once again that's a huge step in the right direction," he said.

But not all of the commissioners agreed.

"Yeah I'm not one hundred percent comfortable with Ban the Box. I don't want to create more issues for our government in terms of our hiring policies," Commissioner Mary Davis said.

The city is also working on it's policies and procedures. Twenty-four policy changes came up to be approved on Tuesday, some of them deal with fair hiring practices.

Ultimately the commission pushed those back, and passed ban the box.

"It does stand alone as probably the largest changes that we would have," she said.

A big change for the city, and it's future employees.