Rep. Vick bill to ease reentry to the workforce after serving time unanimously passes the House

A bill that could help people convicted of a crime get back into the workforce after paying their debt to society unanimously passed the state House of Representatives today.

House Bill 1399 would create a process for a person with a criminal conviction to determine whether that criminal history would disqualify him or her from obtaining a professional license.

Rep. Brandon Vick, who has been championing this legislation for several years, was pleased to see it take this positive step forward.

“This should make it a little easier for anyone who has paid their debt to society and wants to get back into the workforce,” said Vick, R-Vancouver.

The bill would create a logical and simple process for individuals convicted of a crime to apply for and receive a professional license. It would also let them know before paying any fees or filling out any forms, whether they would be eligible to receive the license they're seeking.

Another important goal of the legislation is to help reduce the tendency of re-offense. Vick said he wants to make it easier for people to get back into the workforce, instead of creating barriers that keep them from moving forward.

“Too many times, people get frustrated as they try to reintegrate back into society and eventually, they end up reoffending.” added Vick. “We need to offer help to anyone in this situation as much as we can, when they desire to start contributing to their communities in positive ways.”

The bill does take into consideration the type of crime committed in relation to the type of license being sought.

“Obviously, if someone commits a financial crime, he or she would not be able to get a license in the financial sector,” noted Vick. “But if someone wanted to become a trade worker, like a plumber for example, a non-related conviction from the past shouldn't prevent him or her from getting licensed in Washington.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The 2021 legislative session began Jan. 11 and is scheduled to end April 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications