(TRENTON) — Legislation Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver and Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson sponsored to help former prisoners find work and strengthen New Jersey’s economy was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.
The bill (A-3596) is part of the Back to Work NJ legislative job creation and economic development package.
“We cannot truly have a strong economy unless everyone benefits,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “Those who have served their time and rehabilitated themselves often have a difficult time finding work, but with this plan we’re taking a sensible step to help them clear that obstacle and begin productively contributing to society.”
“Residents who have worked hard to atone for their mistakes and re-enter society too often still find themselves left out of jobs and the benefits of a strong economy,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “If we’re going to build a stronger economy for New Jersey, than everyone needs to be involved.”
Under the bill, the governing body of a county or municipality may, by ordinance or resolution, establish a qualified prisoner re-entry employer set-aside program.
In authorizing such a program, the governing body shall establish a goal for its contracting agencies of setting aside a certain percentage of the dollar value of total procurements to be awarded as set-aside contracts to qualified business enterprises that employ former prisoners.
The bill was released 8-0-3 by the Assembly Budget Committee.