(CBS) — Legislation has been signed into law that’s designed to give ex-offenders in Illinois a better chance at finding work, reports WBBM’s Bob Roberts.

State Representative Rita Mayfield’s first attempt to pass the bill went nowhere, so she sat down with businesses and employer groups to sell them on the idea.

“It is not just for individuals that have been incarcerated because everybody doesn’t always go into the penal system,” said Rep. Mayfield. “You could have ended up on probation or had to do public service. But once that is on your public record, there is a box on that application that says, “Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been convicted of a felony?’” By removing that box, what you are doing is you are actually giving that individual hope.”

Governor Quinn signed the bill at a church on the West Side. The law takes effect in January.

The new law will prevent criminal background checks until after a job interview takes place. Certain jobs that exclude applicants with criminal histories are exempted.

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