J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · June 3, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.–Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday signed a bill (HF 3255) that will make it much easier for people with criminal records to become licensed in their chosen field. HF 3255 creates a petition process so that ex-offenders can see if their criminal record would be disqualifying, before they invest in any potentially expensive or time-consuming training or coursework. The new predetermination process, however, doesn’t apply to health or education licensing boards.

By imposing significant costs in terms of time and money, licensing laws often create substantial hurdles to worker mobility and prisoner reentry. According to a report by the Institute for Justice, the average license for lower- and middle-income occupations in Minnesota requires paying $238 in fees, finishing 300 days of training and experience, and passing two exams.

“An honest living is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. But strict occupational licensing requirements make it harder for ex-offenders to find work,” said IJ Legislative Counsel Meagan Forbes, who submitted testimony in favor of the bill. “This bill will make it easier for Minnesotans who are looking for a fresh start.”

Minnesota is now the 20th state that has enacted a predetermination process for licensing boards. Since 2015, Minnesota and 38 other states have removed licensing barriers for ex-offenders.