Criminal History and State Employment Practices 

WHEREAS, thousands of Kansans who have served criminal penalties subsequently return to their homes and communities across Kansas seeking potential employment opportunities with state government; and

WHEREAS, individuals who have completed their sentences and have paid their debts to society are deserving of a second chance in life and a helping hand as they seek to reenter society; and 

WHEREAS, individuals with criminal records often experience obstacles that increase the difficulties associated with successfully reentering society; and 

WHEREAS, gainful employment is a significant factor for success in reducing recidivism rates and providing financial stability among former offenders; and

WHEREAS, the national “Ban the Box” initiative has brought renewed attention to the value of asking about an applicant’s criminal history later in the hiring process and providing applicants with an opportunity to explain their unique facts and circumstances to potential employers; and

WHEREAS, numerous other states have adopted policies revising their state employment practices to lower the barriers to individuals with criminal histories seeking to enter the state workforce; and      

WHEREAS, employment rates are at historic highs, there is a need for qualified job applicants, and other employers have taken this action in their hiring practices.    

NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Kansas, I hereby order as follows:

  1. Within ninety (90) days of the date of this order, all Executive Branch departments, agencies, boards, and commissions under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor shall take action to ensure that, during the initial stage of a state employment application, job applicants shall not be asked whether they have a criminal record, and a criminal record shall not automatically disqualify an applicant from receiving an interview.
  1. This Order shall not apply when a criminal history would render an applicant ineligible for a position. In particular, if any law or regulation prohibits a person from holding a job due to prior criminal conduct, it is permissible to inquire about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial stage of a state employment application and an applicant may be disqualified from further review for this reason.
  1. Nothing in this Order shall prevent the conduct of a criminal background check as a condition of employment.
  1. This Order is intended to supplement existing laws and regulations concerning State of Kansas employment practices, and shall not be interpreted to in any way diminish such laws and regulations. The Order is not intended to create any new right or benefit enforceable against the State of Kansas.

This document shall be filed with the Secretary of State as Executive Order No. 18-12 and shall become effective immediately.