In June 2017, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a law making his state the first in the country to prohibit all its public universities from asking applicants for admission about their criminal histories.Louisiana HB 688 (2017); and Anya Kamenetz, “Louisiana Is First State to Ban Public Colleges from Asking about Criminal History,” NPR, June 22, 2017. The move follows the U.S. Department of Education’s 2016 request to colleges to eliminate questions about criminal history from their applications—a request that several large public university systems followed.U.S. Department of Education, “Education Department Pushes for Alternatives to Criminal History Questions in College Admissions,” press release (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, May 9, 2016); and Judith Scott-Clayton, “Thinking Beyond the Box: The Use of Criminal Records in College Admissions,” Brookings Institution, September 28, 2017. Similar bills are being considered in half a dozen states.Mark Ballard, “Ban the Box for College Applications Heads to Governor’s Desk,” The Advocate, June 6, 2017.
In 2017, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Utah joined the growing number of states that have removed questions about conviction history on applications for public employment or with government contractors.“Governor Wolf ‘Bans the Box’ on State Employee Applications,” press release (Harrisburg, PA: Office of the Governor, May 5, 2017); Utah HB 0156 (2017); Kentucky Executive Order #2017-0064, February 1, 2017; Nevada AB 384 (2017); Beth Avery and Phil Hernandez, “Ban the Box: U.S. Cities, Counties, and States Adopt Fair Hiring Policies,” NELP, August 1, 2017; and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, “Ban the Box Campaign,” “Ban the box” advocates embrace this step as a key one in post-release access to employment. A number of individual cities and counties have also passed their own “ban the box” regulations.David B. Weisenfeld, “Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality,”