BATON ROUGE, La. — The Metro Council of Baton Rouge has enacted the Fair Chance Ordinance to mitigate recidivism rates, champion equity, and justice, and foster an equitable and impartial society. The novel ordinance, advocated by Councilwoman Chauna Banks, intends to give ex-convicts the opportunity to secure gainful employment with contractors in the City-Parish, without disclosing their criminal record until their skill set is evaluated.
As Banks expounded, the innovative ordinance will aid many ex-convicts who have served their time to obtain gainful employment. She highlighted that enshrining the ordinance into law obviates any possibility of explicit bias.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome issued a statement commending the new ordinance, asserting that ex-convicts should be allowed to vie for employment based on their abilities, qualifications, and latent potential. She added that creating a pathway to employment and entrepreneurship will bolster the economy, champion equity and justice, and curtail recidivism rates.
However, Councilman Dwight Hudson expressed misgivings that the ordinance would unjustly burden city contractors, necessitating them to operate contrary to their standard policies and procedures. Nonetheless, Councilman Aaron Moak, who initially sought to defer the item again, assented to the ordinance. His affirmative vote bolstered the ordinance, securing its passage by a 7-5 vote.
Banks appreciated Moak's support, underscoring that the ordinance is a pivotal stride toward a more inclusive and diverse society that values equal opportunities and second chances for all.
The new ordinance is poised to engender affirmative effects on Baton Rouge's criminal justice system and employment rates.