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Twenty-seven senators want President Obama to block federal agencies and contractors from asking job applicants about prior criminal convictions.
The senators, including 26 Democrats and presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats: Where the hell are You? Sanders on Trump pick: This is how a rigged economy works Trump picks Goldman Sachs chief for top economic adviser: report MORE (I-Vt.), want Obama to take executive action to "ban the box," referring to a question on job applications that asks if an applicant has any convictions.
"We ask you to require federal contractors and agencies to refrain from asking job applicants about prior convictions until later in the hiring process," they said in a letter to Obama on Monday. "This policy would eliminate unnecessary barriers to employment for all job seekers and would give individuals re-entering the workforce the opportunity to apply for work based on their current merits rather than past wrong-doings."
In addition to Sanders, the letter was signed by Democratic Sens. 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They note that federal employers would still be able to ask about past convictions or conduct a background check before making a final employment decision.
The senators said that actions by Obama would "restore hope and opportunity to those with criminal records who face substantial obstacles in their quest to be productive members of their communities."
The letter to Obama comes amid a larger push for criminal justice reform in the Senate. Cardin has introduced legislation that would restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tim ScottTim ScottSenate GOP: National museum should include Clarence Thomas Senate passes college anti-Semitism bill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (S.C.) said earlier this month on ABC's "This Week" that he and other Republicans have "been working for the last several months on different proposals" addressing criminal justice reform.
Tags Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Patty Murray, Chris Murphy, Mazie Hirono, Jeff Merkley, Joe Manchin, Dick Durbin, Mark Warner, Chris Coons, Al Franken, Ben Cardin, Tom Carper, Tim Kaine, Tom Udall, Tim Scott, Jack Reed, Ed Markey, Ron Wyden