by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
Being able to petition the board “at any time” is a particularly strong reform. For people whose conviction record would disqualify them from the license no matter what, being able to find out beforehand would save them a great deal of time and money, let alone heartbreak. They wouldn’t have to pay the tuition, sweat the classwork, study for (and travel to) the exams, and pay the exam sitting fees, only to find out at the last possible second that they never even had a chance.
It would also let the appeals process of an unfavorable decision start earlier.
Also, requiring boards to give a favorable consideration of Certificates of Relief would better honor the intent behind the certificates. As explained by the Legislative Analysis Division:
An individual may petition a court for a Certificate of Relief to relieve some of the collateral consequences associated with criminal convictions that could impede their reintegration into society. A petitioner may obtain a certificate of relief if he or she has three or fewer prior Class H or I felony convictions, as well as any prior misdemeanor convictions.
Such reforms would fight recidivism in North Carolina, broaden access to employment to people with conviction records looking to get back on their feet and expand entrepreneurship and competition in areas that need them the most.
For other and more comprehensive ways to bring greater occupational freedom and more robust job creation to North Carolina, see the John Locke Foundation’s policy position on occupational licensing and my report on “Modernizing North Carolina’s Outdated Occupational Licensing Practices.”