Scroll Top

Watson Coleman, Green, Spencer, Wimberly & Sumter’s ‘Opportunity to Compete Act’ Signed into Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jerry Green, L. Grace Spencer, Benjie Wimberly and Shavonda Sumter to give all New Jerseyans the opportunity to compete for work was signed into law on Monday.
The Opportunity to Compete Act (A-1999) prohibits employers, during the initial employment application process, from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal record and from requiring a job applicant to complete an application that makes such inquiries.
“We know that eliminating barriers to employment is a key component of a sensible policy to promote growth and economic development,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “As a result of this law, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents will have access to the American Dream – a chance to rise or fall on your own merit.”
“I am constantly contacted by people who simply want an opportunity to compete,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “Many of these applicants get eliminated from consideration simply by marking off a box, many of them productive, creative and capable workers.”
“This is a way to ensure that employers have access to a pool that they might have otherwise ignored,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “I think it’s an issue of fairness and second chances. People who have rebuilt their lives should not be forever punished. Second chances are what America is all about.”
“All anyone is asking for is the opportunity to compete,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The ability to find a job is akin to a civil right, and many people were being denied that right from the get-go because of a mistake in their past, and that’s not right.”
“It serves not just the individual, but the state to allow people with criminal histories to become productive members of society,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Unless we want them to resort to the sort of behavior that got them in trouble in the first place, why deny them the opportunity?”