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UPDATE: First list of amendments for Ban The Box passes first reading

UPDATE: The first discussion on amendments for Ban The Box passed Waterloo City Council. The vote came out to four yes’s and three no’s.

A brand new amendment coming to the table this week consisted of private action after an employer is found guilty of violating the Fair Chance Initiative.

The new amendment reads,  “Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private right of action to seek damages or other relief of any kind.”

The council members against the initiative took a stiff stand against the passing of the amendments.

“You’re harming businesses in Waterloo, and I want jobs for everyone in Waterloo,” says Ward 1 Councilperson Margaret Klein. “I want them to come here, locate here, thrive here and we are passing this tonight and it’s going to knock them in the knees.”

“When the four vote for this tonight, they will be violating state code, and violating their oath of office as a councilperson,” says Ward 2 Councilperson Bruce Jacobs.

The ones that did vote in favor of the initiative voiced their opinions saying this ordinance would be beneficial for the City of Waterloo.

“I am not breaking any oath of office by trying to promote human and civil rights for the most diverse city in the Midwest,” says Ward 3 Councilperson Patrick Morrissey.

“Please don’t be frightened that this bill is going to allow some dangerous criminal into your house,” says At-Large Councilperson Sharon Juon. “The business still does the criminal check, they can still rescind that offer, it doesn’t affect that at all.”

The second reading of the amendments will be taking place next Monday.

Click here to see all the amendments for the Initiative.

UPDATE: The vote to Ban The Box passed last week, but now the first list of amendments came to light in the first council work session since the vote.

An enforcement policy is one of the many new amendments to the Fair Chance Initiative. The presentation to council from the City of Waterloo’s attorney stated the Waterloo Human Rights Commision would act as a gatekeeper.

A complainant will report an employer for their violation of Fair Chance Initiative, and the commision will decide how to proceed. The violations can result in fines that would return to the complainant.

Click here to see all the amendments for the Initiative.

UPDATE: The discussion held in the council chambers were filled with passion between people for and against each other for this decision.

The public taking a split stand on if the box should be banned.

“All of us can grow and improve regardless of our background and regardless of our circumstance.”
“I’m saying just be careful where you are taking this, and get it done at the state level because that’s what needs to be done.”

The topic of discussion got heated at one point. One of the statements said by a general member of the public deemed offensive by Mayor Hart.

“Going down the street with a hoodie on, it’s a disguise, what do you think about that? I think there’s a reason he’s in disguise because he doesn’t want to be recognized because he’s up to no good, that’s what I think.”

“Don’t come in here in this city council, in the most diverse city in the state of Iowa talking about what a young man is wearing because you’re talking about my son. And, yes, I take offense to that,” says Mayor Hart.

The council also voicing their opinion on the ordinance, the recurring topic discussed is if Banning The Box is a violation of state law.

Abraham Funchess, the Waterloo Human Rights Executive Director was one of the main cogs in the movement, he says there’s work to be done.

“We still got a lot of work to do, this is great tonight, but now we are preparing for the work session coming up.”

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) — The Waterloo City Council has passed the third reading of the ‘ban the box’ ordinance.

It is designed to prevent employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history during the hiring process.

The ordinance was passed 4-2. Councilman Steve Schmitt was not in attendance. Members of the council say amendments are coming next week.

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Vinny Lowerre

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