The Maryland General Assembly has approved legislation that would ban the state's colleges -- public and private -- from asking prospective applicants about their criminal records, The Baltimore Sun reported. The "ban the box" movement is based on the idea that many criminal records reflect long-past transgressions or the judicial system's unfair treatment of minority youth. It is unclear whether Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, will sign the bill.
Tina Bjarekull, president of the Maryland Independent College and University Association, said via email that some of her association's members ask about criminal history and others do not. She said the association opposed the bill as drafted but worked with legislators to improve it to a point where the association is comfortable with it. For example, the version that is going to the governor says that colleges may use third-party admissions services (such as the Common Application) that ask about criminal background.