House Representative


Rep. Workman Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Local "Ban the Box" and "Fair Chance" Hiring Ordinances

House Bill 577 will make null and void any such existing hiring ordinances in addition to prohibiting their adoption at a future date

AUSTIN – State Representative Paul Workman today introduced House Bill 577, which will prohibit local governments from mandating upon private employers any so-called "Ban the Box" and "Fair Chance" hiring ordinances.

Ban the Box regulations prohibit employers from asking about criminal history on a job application and Fair Chance ordinances, such as the one recently adopted by the City of Austin, prohibit employers from running a criminal background check until after an initial job offer has been made.

"When a local government oversteps its bounds in such a profound way, no matter how laudable the goal, there will always be drastic, unintended consequences," remarked Rep. Workman. "I have supported efforts to promote sound policies to reduce recidivism rates in our state. I will continue to support policies that promote re-entry and public safety."

"Business owners should be able to make informed hiring decisions, based on facts," said Senator Joan Huffman. "Overly burdensome regulations hinder the ability of employers to create new jobs and spur the economic growth of Texas."

Rep. Workman was joined at a press conference to introduce HB 577 by representatives of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Association of Staffing, the National Federation of Independent Business/Texas, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Texas Association of Manufacturers, the Texas Restaurant Association, and the Texas State Council for the Society for Human Resource Management. Also in attendance were Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair and State Representatives Tony Dale and Jason Isaac.

"The state is compelled to involve itself when local governments create regulations that restrict the rights and liberties of its citizens, including their private property rights, affect people who are not citizens of that local government, negatively impact the Texas economy, and create a variation of ordinances across the state. Fair Chance ordinances, like the one passed by the city of Austin, cause the state to become involved because they violate all four of these principles, most importantly that of restricting the rights and liberties of Texas citizens."

Brian Mitchell