Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Indianapolis City-County Council Approves Ban The Box
To no surprise, the Indianapolis City-County Council approved a proposal last night that will bar city-county agencies and any vendor who conducts business with those governmental agencies from including a box on job application forms that asks prospective employees whether they have any prior criminal convictions. There were just two no votes, including Councilors Aaron Freeman (R) and Jason Holliday (R). It's a panacea that makes politicians who support it feel good about themselves, but it has absolutely no impact on the employability of a worker. Passing this same proposal worked wonders for Detroit. You can take it to the bank that the same politicians who expressed gushing support for this proposal will be the first to ask how it could have happened when a city parks worker molests your 7-year old child in a bathroom at a public park, but politicians will be politicians.
What I found totally reprehensible about the discussion on the passage of this proposal was the complete lack of decorum during council proceedings. Proponents of this measure were allowed to stand, wave signs, clap and vocalize their approval or disapproval of a council member's views. We aren't governed by mob rule. There's a reason public demonstrations aren't permitted during these discussions. It seems to me that whenever the chair approves of the actions of public demonstrators, they are allowed to do whatever they want. Let one member of the public stand up and express a view of which the chair disapproves and a police officer is asked to escort the person from the council chambers and threaten them with arrest. Not a single member of the council asked the council president to enforce the rules last night; instead, council members appeared to encourage the breach of protocol to feed their own self-aggrandizement. It's a bit ironic that the council began last night's meeting honoring the late Beurt SerVaas, who would have never permitted such actions to occur during a council meeting while he presided.