Council passes ordinance to delay criminal background checks

Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance passes

AUSTIN (KXAN) — City Council passed the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance Thursday night, meant to give those with a criminal history a better chance of landing a job. Supporters erupted into cheers, and even burst into tears, hugging and taking pictures.

The ordinance delays an employer running a background check until the candidate is about to be offered the job.

Council Member Greg Casar, who sponsored the ordinance, told the group he will always remember that Thursday night at 10:02. The moment, he said, that paves the way for people to have a second chance to move on with their lives and put food on the table.

Don Zimmerman and Ellen Troxclair were the one two council members who voted against the ordinance. Earlier this week, he said, “We have small businesses here struggling to survive in the Austin economic market. The taxes are terrible, the regulatory burden is already very, very high. The unintended consequences of these mandates are [that] we could drive out more small businesses that are struggling to survive.”

Meador Staffing’s Pamela Bratton said the average cost nationwide to hire an employee is $4,000, and that’s money could be saved knowing someone’s criminal background from the start of the hiring process.

To read more about the ordinance, click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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