NORWALK - A new law that bans employers from asking about a person's criminal history on job applications is awaiting the governor's signature.

Lawmakers passed the "Ban the Box" law late Wednesday night.

The issue is personal for state Sen. Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport). As a 17-year-old runaway, Gomes says he stole some sandwiches from a restaurant and was charged with a felony. He adds that it's important for ex-cons to be able to get on with their lives.

Paul Timpanelli, the head of the Bridgeport Business Council, says some businesses opposed the legislation.

"When you're hiring someone, you don't know the full extent of their behavior or background," Timpanelli says. "That's always an issue."

Employers can still inquire about an applicant's criminal history during an interview.

The law does not force companies to hire applicants if they have been in prison, but it does give them an equal shot at making it to the interview stage. However, it will not apply to certain positions at places such as schools and nursing homes where the law already requires a background check.