Previously Convicted Felons Barred from Stimulus Employment in Virginia? Part Three

Last week I got a short email from the Department of Labor stating that they’ve forwarded my request to the appropriate office, so still waiting for the final word there on whether Labor has some sort of policy that would prevent previously convicted felons from being employed on stimulus-funded projects. I also received a more definite letter from Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy that was sent on July 14. See relevant excerpts below; bolded emphases are mine.

Thank you for your email to Governor Kaine regarding any Virginia policy or regulation that precludes convicted felons from working on energy-related stimulus-funded projects in the Commonwealth. He has asked the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to respond to you on his behalf.

We have researched your question which included contacting the Virginia Department of Correctional Education, the agency that deals with occupational licensure for people with past criminal convictions. We were unable to discover any such blanket restriction in Virginia law. There is no such restriction in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants that this department has received.

Granted their answer was focused on energy projects, and again I’m still waiting on the Department of Labor’s final response to my question. However, I think at this point it’s fair to say that there are NO policy restrictions preventing previously convicted felons from working on stimulus projects per the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (and Virginia state law). If you know of people with a history of criminal convictions who are being told that they cannot work on stimulus projects, I would urge you to also reach out to your state governments for clarification as there is no such restriction in federal law. Obviously state laws would vary and I’m not discounting the possibility of some states having this type of restriction – but it’s worth inquiring if such restrictions actually exist in your state’s policy/law as the answer will drive what next steps to take.

This is part three of four in the “Previously Convicted Felons Barred from Stimulus Employment in Virginia?” series. Follow the discussion through parts one, two, three, and four.

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