Illinois Eases Rules to Seal

Beginning in 2016, the rules to seal a criminal record will be eased. Of the six bills I’ve been tracking, Governor Rauner signed three bills into law earlier this month, sent two bills back for revisions, and one bill remains stalled in the House.

New Legislation

The legislation set to go into effect on January 1 includes:

  • Public Act 99-0385: Waiting period to seal a criminal record reduced to three (currently four) years.
  • Public Act 99-0381: Individuals convicted of a Class X felony or certain forcible felonies now eligible to obtain a certificate of good conduct.
  • Public Act 99-0378: If you earn a H.S. diploma, GED, college degree, or vocational education certificate during period of incarceration or probation, you can seal your record immediately after completing sentence.

Governor Wants Revisions to Pot Law

Governor Rauner sent two bills back to the General Assembly with proposed changes:

  • House Bill 218: Bill to decriminalize up to 15 grams of marijuana. Governor Rauner only wants to decriminalize up to 10 grams of marijuana and increase civil fines to $100 to $200 from $55 to $125. The General Assembly is expected to go along with the Governor’s changes.
  • House Bill 494: Bill sought to eliminate K-12 schools’ permanent bar to hiring anyone convicted of an enumerated felony drug offense. In its place, a five-year waiting period would apply. The Governor’s objections are hard to discern. That said, I expect the General Assembly will do whatever it takes to secure the Governor’s signature.

Legislation Stalled

For the second straight year, efforts to amend the health care worker licensing law have run aground.

  • Senate Bill 42 would have given individuals denied a health care worker license or whose license was revoked an opportunity to challenge the action – something they currently can’t do. The odds that Senate Bill 42 will be sent to the Governor for his signature, sadly, appear remote.