It’s true that on its face, there is no reason for the business community to support H.3209, which removes minor convictions — such as simple possession of marijuana — from people’s record (“Forgive? Certainly. Forget? Not so fast,” April 25). Generally, businesses like to vet the full records of job applicants. But we need more skilled workers in our state.
That’s why the Chamber convened a task force to examine ex-offender workforce reintegration. Working together with SLED Chief Mark Keel, sheriffs and solicitors, the task force determined that, to keep the state moving forward, the business community needs to support behind-the-wire training, tax credits for businesses that hire formerly incarcerated individuals, the expungement of minor offenses and liability protection for our job-creators. This task force opposed expunging violent offenses, offenses of a sexual predatory nature or acts related to dishonesty. The bill is limited to minor offenses and offers a chance for eligible South Carolinians to return to our workforce as productive, taxpaying citizens.
People who may have made a mistake deserve a second chance, and if they are given that chance, they can help our businesses fill an emerging, statewide need for middle-skilled workers. We want South Carolina to be the best place in the nation to live, work and do business. We believe that H.3209 and reengaging our citizens in the workforce moves us in that direction.
President and CEO, S.C. Chamber of Commerce