State

Illinois law a boost to ex-offenders seeking jobs

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation requiring private employers in Illinois to first evaluate job applicants' skills then ask about criminal histories.

The legislation makes Illinois the fifth state to bar private employers from requiring disclosure of a criminal history until an applicant is determined qualified for a position.

Illinois already bars state agencies from asking about criminal histories on initial government job applications.

Quinn signed the bill Saturday at a church on Chicago's West Side, telling an audience there that he believes in redemption.

The Democratic governor says "it's imperative to help everyone have the opportunity to get a job."

Some construction jobs, emergency medical jobs and security jobs are exempt.

The Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act takes effect Jan. 1.

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