'Ban the Box' Bill Changed in Neb. Prison Measure

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A bill designed to help ex-convicts find jobs in Nebraska is headed to a final vote in the Legislature.

The measure, part of the state's prison reform bill, was amended Tuesday before receiving second-round approval by lawmakers. The legislation would prevent public employers from asking about a job hopeful's criminal history when they first apply.

The amendment would allow schools to ask about any criminal infractions related to sexual or physical abuse. The amendment came in response to lawmaker concerns about student safety. Supporters say nothing stops the schools from doing the background checks.

The measure was included in prison reforms that aim to reduce the inmate population by providing more services to those behind bars and diverting nonviolent offenders from the Department of Corrections.

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