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Bill to Prohibit Credit Checks for Employment Referenced to Labor Committee

AUGUSTA – A bill submitted by Rep. Chris Barstow that would prevent employers from using credit reports when making hiring decisions has been sent to the Labor Committee for public hearing and review.

Barstow, D-Gorham, proposed the legislation after learning that some employers refuse to hire workers based on information found in credit reports.

“I don’t want people who may have faced financial hardship to lose employment opportunities because they defaulted on a student loan when they were younger or were saddled with debt,” Barstow said. “How are they supposed to repair their credit and eventually own a home or buy a car if they can’t get a job?”

In 2004, about 35 percent of U.S. employers checked credit reports during the hiring process, which was up from about 19 percent in 1996, according to Matt Fellowes of the Brookings Institution. Fellowes said students, younger workers, and poor or elderly workers may have low credit scores that don’t reflect how they will perform in a work environment.

The Labor Committee has not yet scheduled a public hearing for the bill, but it is expected to take up the proposal early in the legislative session. To learn more about this bill, visit: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/LawMakerWeb/summary .asp?ID=280022361. Contact: Rep. Chris Barstow, 841-7320 Andrew Helman, Legislative Aide, 287-1432 Travis Kennedy, Communications Director, 287-1433

January 12, 2007
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