WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Checking whether or not you have been convicted of a felony can be tough.
The Waterloo city council is currently considering an ordinance, the fair chance act, that would do away with the box on job applications, where it asks people if they’ve been convicted of a felony.
Ryan Stevenson, a political science major from the University of Northern Iowa, has gone through this.
“Earlier today, i just got a call that i was you know that right now I wasn’t going to be considered for a position because of some of the things that come up during my background check” Stevenson said.
Stevenson has served time in prison.
“It’s like for the city to be pushing this this uh legislation right now it hits close to home for me,” Stevenson said.
Advocates think this is a step in the right direction for Waterloo.
Waterloo Commission on Human Rights Executive Director Abraham Funchess has been fighting for this ordinance since 2012.
“Well, we believe that ban the box is a game changer for a lot of people in the community not only this community but across the United States and the data that’s coming in now actually show that people actually benefit from ban the box or fair chance legislation.”
But the council turned down similar proposals in 2012 and 2015. Waterloo city Council-member Margaret Klein is being vocal on where she stands.
“Long before i ever ran for office, someone asked me about ban the box. I was supportive of it then, I’m supportive of it now,” Klein said.
Funchess wants to make it clear that employers have to do their due diligence.
“We obviously are asking people to continue to let common sense rule uh we wouldn’t be asking anyone to uh put sex offenders in schools we wouldn’t be asking people who have embezzled to be working at banks,” Funchess said.
Stevenson just wants everyone, like himself, to simply have a fair chance.
“I am excited about it and hopefully, I mean, I think this is a big step for our city our community and keep going in a positive direction.” Stevenson said.