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Righter’s jobs reform legislation focuses on recidivism, blighted areas

State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) is co-sponsoring jobs reform legislation that focuses on helping reduce the tendency of convicted criminals to commit another crime, and ensuring neglected areas in communities receive honest advantages when it comes to tax increment finance (TIF) revenues.

Senate Bill 2282 provides protection for employers, specifically negligent-hiring liability, when they employ an individual with a nonviolent, nonsexual criminal conviction.

“By offering this protection, employers may be more inclined to hire someone released from prison,” Righter said. “The best way to address our prison overpopulation and issues with our criminal justice system is to keep people from committing and recommitting crimes. And the best way to do avoid prison is having a job. If more employers hire these individuals, it not only helps our state by reducing recidivism, but most importantly, it gives these individuals a sense of purpose and responsibility.”

Senate Bill 2880 would restrict transferring TIF dollars from one TIF district to another, and puts more restrictions on when a blighted area of a community can be considered for tax increment financing.

“The last thing we want is tax increment financing revenues to be used for areas in a community that really don’t need the investment – especially when another side of town is clearly in more need,” Righter said. “This legislation would ensure communities with the most need for improvement and new jobs would obtain TIF investment.

“Anything we can do as a legislature to help job creators and create jobs – especially for people and areas of our state that need it most – we should seriously take a look,” Righter said. “These are simple reforms that can make a big difference to employers and rehabilitating people and communities.”

Both bills await hearings before Senate committees. Lawmakers return to Springfield April 10.