HB 4353 – House Concurred in Senate Amendment and Passed Bill RCS# 229
Criminal Justice Reform
HB 4353 doubles down on the actions already taken by this legislature by removing unjust and unnecessary barriers to opportunity for West Virginians with a past conviction that want to be a law-abiding, contributing member of society. The bill requires occupational boards to more fairly decide whether to revoke someone’s license based on criminal history. Too many West Virginians are excluded from employment because of past mistakes, no matter how relevant they are to the job they wish to perform. HB 4353 prohibits licensing boards from using vague “moral turpitude” clauses to exclude people from jobs merely for having a criminal record. Under the cronyist status quo, overly broad exclusion criteria is abused to insulate established businesses from competition, harming former offenders’ ability to productively reintegrate into society. HB 4353 doesn’t require licensing boards to provide a certification to those with a criminal record. It simply ensures they only deny licenses for crimes that bear a “rational nexus” to licensed occupations.