IL Seeks to Reduce Employment Barriers for Ex Offenders

Illinois Posed to Reduce Employment Barriers for Ex Offenders, Shorten Sealing Waiting Times

In May, I highlighted several bills the Illinois General Assembly was considering to reduce employment and licensing barriers for ex-offenders. Since then two bills have been sent to Governor Rauner. If he signs them, they will go into effect in January 2016.

Reducing K-12 Employment Barriers (HB 494)

House Bill 494 will eliminate the permanent bar to hiring by K-12 schools anyone convicted of certain felony drug crimes to work. The bar will be replaced with a five-year waiting period, running from the date a criminal sentence ends. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Rauner.

Shortening Sealing Waiting Periods (SB 844)

Senate Bill 844 will shorten the current waiting period to seal a criminal record. Conviction records for a misdemeanor, felony, or first offender felony drug probation offenses will be sealable three years after the date someone’s last criminal sentence ends. The waiting period is currently four years.

Senate Bill 844 also will shorten the time to seal cases where someone received supervision for misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse, domestic battery, or driving an uninsured motor vehicle. Instead of three years, the waiting period will be reduced to two years, provided the individual has never been convicted of a crime.  These offenses can be expunged after five years.  Governor Rauner is expected to sign it.

Health Care Worker Licensing Barriers Expected to Remain (SB 42)

Senate Bill 42 would have given individuals the right to appeal their automatic license denial or license revocation, due to a prior felony conviction. This is the second time in two years a version of this bill has come up for consideration. Both times the Senate passed the bill but it then lacked sufficient support in the House.  It is doubtful SB 42 will pass this year.