PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Nutter has signed a Philadelphia City Council passed “Ban the Box” bill. It removes a section in job applications asking for criminal histories.

It’s designed to give ex-offenders a better chance of finding work.

It was dubbed “Ban the Box,”  because of the check box on employment forms, asking job applicants whether they had been convicted of a crime.

Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, who sponsored the bill, said most employers won’t be able to ask about criminal records before a first interview, “Over 300,000 men and women in Philadelphia won a major victory in their efforts to put their pasts behind them and become an integral and productive part of society.”

Mayor Nutter said it’s already difficult for ex-offenders to get their foot in the door. He said this bill will make it easier for them to be considered without harmful preconceptions by an employer before that first interview, “How would actually know that this could potentially be one of your best employees if you never talked to them and let a piece of paper run them out the door?”

Also on hand was the national president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous (pictured, standing directly behind Mayor Nutter), who called work for ex-offenders “redemptive.”

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060