PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Philadelphia city councilman Rick Mariano, who spent four years in federal prison following a conviction for bribery, returned to Philadelphia City Council today for the first time since his release, to testify in support of a bill that helps ex-offenders get hired.

It was Mariano’s first appearance in City Council since spending four years in federal prison on the bribery conviction that drove him from office.

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“I met presidents of the United States, mayors, governors, senators — and I can’t get a job,” Mariano told the Council hearing on a bill dubbed “Ban The Box.”

Mariano testified in support of a bill that places restrictions on the questions a prospective employer can ask ex-offenders, essentially eliminating the checkbox that convicted criminals must mark on job applications.

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The bill was approved and sent to the full Council.

Mariano, meanwhile, still wears an electronic ankle bracelet and is looking for work as an electrician, but has no complaints.

“I’m out of jail.  Life is beautiful.  I’m blessed,” he said today.

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Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn.