Help expand opportunities for Oklahomans to work

One mistake shouldn’t derail someone’s opportunity to support themselves and their family.

Please contact your state representative and ask them to vote yes to HB 1373 (Rep. Zack Taylor) and HB 2134 (Rep. Cyndi Munson). These bills would prohibit blanket bans of individuals with a criminal history — only crimes that are violent or sexual in nature or that relate directly to the duties of the particular job or occupation could automatically disqualify an individual from a license. Find your state representative here.

Universal licensing bans on those with felony convictions that make no distinctions for the seriousness of the crime, or whether the crime relates to the profession being licensed, serve no one’s interest. Now that Oklahoma has voted to make simple drug possession and low-level property crimes misdemeanors, it makes even less sense to have a blanket ban on job licenses for people charged with these crimes in the years when they were felonies.

Furthermore, this legislation reflects the recommended changes of an advisory commission that was established last year to review occupational licensing requirements in the state. Learn more on this issue here.

These two bills have both passed House committees with strong bipartisan support and now await action by the full House. Call your state representative today and urge them to end blanket bans on job licenses for Oklahomans with a felony record by voting yes to HB 1373 and HB 2134.

For tips on communicating with your legislator, visit our advocacy toolkit.

Published by Sabine Brown

Sabine Brown joined the Oklahoma Policy Institute as Housing Senior Policy Analyst in January 2022. She previously worked at OK Policy from January 2018 until September 2020 as the Outreach and Legislative Director, and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. Before joining OK Policy she served as the Oklahoma Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Sabine also earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Science from the University of Oklahoma and was a physician assistant prior to discovering advocacy work. She grew up in Germany but has called Oklahoma home since 1998.