May 13, 2020

Kennedy-Beatty Fair Chance for Small Business Relief Act Included in HEROES Act

Legislation will ‘ban the box’ for SBA’s PPP and Economic Injury Disaster loans and grants

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) and U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) today applauded the inclusion of the Fair Chance for Small Business Relief Act in the recently unveiled HEROES Act. Kennedy and Beatty’s bill would fix a flaw in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance Program that disqualifies small business owners with even minor offenses from critical relief.

“Small business owners pursuing their dreams should not be punished for past mistakes as minor as marijuana possession,” Kennedy said. “By denying these small businesses a lifeline, the SBA isn’t just harming their owners, it’s punishing their workers, their consumers and their community. It’s time to ‘ban the box’ for small business relief, and I’m proud to lead this effort with Congresswoman Beatty.”

“I have heard from countless small business owners in Ohio’s Third Congressional District and across the country who been unfairly precluded from obtaining the help they so desperately need. Congress should not be in the business of denying opportunity to people who have paid their debt to society—let alone not even been convicted of a crime,” Beatty said. “That is why Congressman Kennedy and I joined together to do something about it.” She continued, “I am pleased to report that The Heroes Act includes a provision mirroring our bill that will ensure small business and micro business owners can obtain the necessary support to weather the financial fallout from COVID-19 and have the chance to build an even brighter future, as opposed to being judged, prejudged, or punished again for mistakes made years prior.”

Prior to introducing the Fair Chance for Small Business Relief ActBeatty and Kennedy sent a letter to Congressional Leadership on April 15th urging them to ease restrictions on certain small businesses that are ineligible from obtaining assistance through the SBA due to collateral consequences from previous encounters with the criminal justice system.

Beatty and Kennedy’s bill is supported by SAFER Foundation and Collateral Consequences Resource Center. 

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