passing CORI reform

05/29/2010 § 4 Comments

we passed CORI reform this past wednesday.  one of the more exhilarating moments of my organizing life.  we’re almost at the completion of a 5 year campaign and achieving one of the original goals from the formation of my organization.  im proud of the work we’ve done, and the relief we will offer to the hundreds of thousands suffering from what michelle alexander calls “the new jim crow.”

justice generation!

internal BWA messaging:

HOUSE CORI VOTE DEBRIEF AND NEXT STEPS

*What Happened and What’s Next?*

CORI Reform was passed in the House late Wednesday with a vote of 139 to 17!  The victory was a critical milestone, bringing us a major step closer to the adoption of CORI reform into law.

The vote now places CORI reform into Conference Committee, where a small group of State Reps and Senators will be responsible for reconciling the House and Senate versions to produce a final bill.

The Conference Committee process could be lengthy, and requires for supporters of the campaign to stay vigilant.  The Committee has until the end of July to produce a bill for signing by the Governor.  We will press the Committee to release a bill much sooner.

Key to pushing a final bill through Conference is to maintain momentum for CORI reform until it is signed.  To that end, we ask our supporters to share your excitement by calling your State Rep today!

*Call Your State Rep. to Thank Them for Voting Yes!*

If you called your State Rep, now is the time to call them back and thank them for voting Yes.

Dial (61)7 722 2000 to be connected to your Rep:

“Hi, my name is ______.  I’m calling to thank Rep. ______ for voting yes for CORI reform.  This is important to me because ______.  Please ask the Representative to keep up the pressure, and make sure we get the strongest bill to the Governor as soon as possible.”

139 Reps voted yes, including every State Rep. in Boston!  Please call them today to say thanks for doing the right thing for our State!

See the list of Reps who voted NO below.  If your Rep voted NO, give them a call and express your unhappiness with their decision.

Voted NO: Driscoll, Miceli, Webster, Smola, Polito, Perry, Humanson, Hargraves, Frost, deMacedo, Barrows, Poirier, Hill, Stanley T.M., Stanley H.L., Spiliotis, Speliotis

To see the full Roll Call Vote – visit http://bostonworkersalliance.org/index.php/?p=518

*What Was in the Bill?*

Main Points in the 4703 Bill:

The CORI bill includes our key priorities:

* “Ban the Box” from initial job applications
* Reduce the sealing times from 15 and 10 years to 10 years and 5
* Start the sealing periods at the beginning of probation/parole,
instead of at the end
* Automatically remove cases that were found not guilty, dismissed or
continued without a finding
* Requires employers and housing authorities to provide a copy of a
record before questioning an applicant about their record

The CORI bill also included the Senate’s proposals to:

* Upgrade the CORI to an online system, to compete with for-profit,
internet background check companies
* Preventing violent crimes resulting in death and serious sex
offenses from ever being sealed
* Retains law enforcement access to all records, including sealed charges

The House CORI bill DID NOT include the following proposals included
in the Senate bill:

* Reforming mandatory minimums, allowing individuals who served 2/3rd
of a non violent drug sentence as eligible for parole
* Mandatory post-release supervision, that would require every
prisoner serving more than 1 year in prison to have a minimum of 9
months and a maximum of 2 years of parole supervision

Download the Final Bill Text and Summary at: http://bostonworkersalliance.org/index.php/?p=518

press release:

May 27, 2010

BOSTON/State House – In a resounding majority vote of 139 to 17, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed an anticipated bill late Wednesday to reform the state’s criminal record system—known as CORI. The comprehensive reforms followed the Senate’s passage of a similar crime bill last November.

The bills are now sent to Conference Committee where the House and Senate versions will be merged before reaching the Governor’s desk for signing. Governor Patrick has promoted CORI as a top priority and released a statement Wednesday night that he “looks forward to working with the House and Senate to get a strong bill on his desk.”

“This is a major victory for communities across the Commonwealth who will benefit from increased employment access, improved safety in our communities and less reliance on costly social services,” said Aaron Tanaka, Executive Director of the Boston Workers’ Alliance, a grassroots group that has helped lead the organizing effort since 2005.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis called CORI reform “smart on crime,” and a “win/win that will improve public safety…and reduce the numbers of victims in the Commonwealth.”

CORI proposals underwent several redrafts starting in the 2007-08 session to build a broad based consensus reflected in the dominant vote. The Senate bill, mirrored by the House proposal, received notable acclaim from statewide groups including the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association, the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association and the Massachusetts Bar Association.

The CORI provisions included in both House and Senate versions included a “Ban the Box” proposal that would remove the CORI question from initial job applications. The proposal retains employers’ right to ask about a criminal history, but delays the timing of the inquiry so applicants are considered for their qualifications before being screened for a record. This policy was pioneered in Boston for public jobs in 2005, and has since been adopted in some of the largest cities across the country including Chicago, San Francisco and Austin. Most recently, Minnesota and New Mexico both passed “Ban the Box” laws for all state public jobs, while Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to remove the CORI question for all employers.

Additional reforms would reduce the length of time that old records are available. Currently, felony records are available for 15 years and misdemeanors are open for 10. The House proposals would reduce those periods to 10 and 5 respectively, excluding sex offenses and convictions for murder or manslaughter. Employers that work with vulnerable populations such as children, elderly and the disabled, as well as banking and financial institutions, would be exempt from these changes.

Speaker DeLeo greeted a cheering crowd of CORI advocates outside the House chamber after the vote. DeLeo declared that the vote was “an example of government working for the people” and emphasized that the bill would help those who have stayed free of crime to get a second chance and become productive taxpaying residents. The bill is expected to clear Conference Committee without major controversy, and must be signed into law by the Governor before the end of July when the 2010 formal session concludes.

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§ 4 Responses to passing CORI reform

  • maryanne Timmons says:

    I was convicted 10 years ago for uttering a false prescription. I completed my probation(1 year). I am unemployed and cannot get a job in my field! The judge denied my request to seal…no hearing…got something in the mail.I have NEVER been convicted of anything else! I am thrilled that this may pass and I can work again.Please keep me posted. Thank you,maryanne timmons

  • […] passing CORI reform May 2010 4 […]

  • kare says:

    Please pass something soon so we can start working again. I made one little mistake and now I can’t work anymore because of a stupid misdemeanor., Why does the whole family have to suffer for so long after I paid my fines? Im so upset about this.

  • Alex Colon says:

    I finally get a chance at getting a permanent job And housing so that I don’t have to Act crazy and live off of the system.Like a lot of ex-felons have been doing because they can’t get employment

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