Blog post by Christine Ross
Christine Ross, the president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, has 20 years of leadership experience in the business community. She is a visionary coalition builder guiding the Maryland Chamber’s efforts to improve competitiveness, attract and retain talent, grow jobs, engage the community and provide legislative advocacy.
Second Chance legislation is a priority for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce because employment and training opportunities are the key to helping people permanently improve their lives. Under the current law, employers can be held civilly liable for a negligent act committed by an employee simply because that employee has a criminal past. With the burden on the employer that they “knew or should have known” an employee was “potentially dangerous,” employers, particularly small businesses, are especially vigilant in their application and screening processes when hiring. Protecting businesses who are willing to give a “second chance” to qualified applicants opens the talent pipeline and improves quality of life in the communities across Maryland, making Maryland a better and safer state to do business. Employing people who genuinely need a well-formed pathway to a career will keep the recidivism rate down and positively impact the quality life for entire families, creating the opportunity for higher functioning family units, improved children’s attendance in schools, and more consistency in the fundamentals such as parenting and healthy life habits. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is working with the Jobs Opportunity Task Force, NAACP, Correct Rx Pharmacy, the Johns Hopkins University, MedStarHealth, Shawe Rosenthal LLP, Vehicles for Change as well as several members of the Maryland General Assembly including Senator Cory McCray, Delegate Christopher Adams, and John Huffington and others on a practical approach for Second Chance legislation. We hope you will join us in this effort.