TEXAS - There's a bipartisan push to make it easier for people with a criminal record to get an occupational license in Texas.

  • Bills would make it easier for those with a criminal record to obtain occupational license
  • Licenses needed for 25 percent of professions 

State law currently requires occupational licenses for more than 25 percent of professions, including barbers, cosmetologists and plumbers. Texas' Smart-On-Crime Coalition says that impacts one in three working Texans and creates difficult barriers for the four in 10 Texans who have an arrest or conviction record.

“If you paid your penalty and you straightened your life out, that shouldn't be a hindrance to your licensing of a particular profession as long as it doesn't very strictly relate to that profession,” said Bill Hammond, senior strategist for Texas’ Smart-On-Crime Coalition.

Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate would instruct licensing boards to maximize their authority to grant licenses to qualified applicants. The boards would also be required to provide clear guidance to applicants who are denied a license what they can do to improve their future chances of approval.

“It gives people an opportunity for people to be successful in life,” Hammond said. “If you don’t have a chance to be employed and earn a decent wage, the probability of you recycling into the system is enormous.”

Click the video link above to watch our full interview with Hammond.