A Louisville Metro Council committee has approved a measure prohibiting the city and its private contractors from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until the job is offered. But members of Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration joined council Republicans to voice concerns about the bill and its additional burden on local businesses. Council Democrats and community activists argue the so-called “ban the box” ordinance helps even the playing field for residents who deserve a second chance and are seeking gainful employment. During the committee hearing, GOP members asked about the cost and had concerns about mandatory provisions, such as conducting a background check. The Fischer administration also raised questions about the proposal, saying city vendors already frustrated by the application process don’t look forward to having another burden. Officials with the Fischer administration argue the city already has a similar screening process where they conduct background checks after agencies interview and identify job applicants they’d like to hire. But council Democrats pushing the bill say the policy isn’t codified and should be required to protect potential employees against discrimination.

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