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California bills seek to ease hiring of ex-convicts

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, inmates walk through the exercise yard at California State Prison Sacramento, near Folsom, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - More ex-convicts could soon be emergency services workers and in-home caregivers under legislation proposed in California.

The three-bill package announced Monday would generally bar state agencies from denying professional licenses solely because the applicant has an arrest or conviction for a nonviolent offense.

California narrowly defines violent offenses. Advocates say the measures could help nearly eight million Californians get licenses so they could work as barbers or cosmetologists, ambulance attendants or providing care to the elderly, ill or those with disabilities.

They estimate that about 30 percent of jobs require such professional licenses.

The bills exempt any licenses related to foster care or to licenses issued by the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu says the legislation is part of a national "fair chance" effort.

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