ST. PAUL - In a nod to second chances, the Minnesota Senate has approved a bill that would bar employers from asking about a person's criminal history on job applications.

The bill passed the State Senate 44-16 on Saturday.

It would subject private employers to the same rules now applied in the public sector.  Joe Schmitt is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law.  He says, if it's passed into law, employers would not be allowed to ask about your criminal background history on the initial job application.

Schmitt says the employer could still decide against hiring someone based on their criminal history, as long as they wait to find out about it until later on in the hiring process.

Schmitt says the bill carries a $500 fine if employers repeatedly violate the proposed law.

The State House still needs to vote on the bill, before it could go to the Governor for his signature.

The changes wouldn't go into effect until January 1st.