-Illinois
5:23 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Measure Allows Felons To Clean Slate

The Illinois House voted to give certain felons the opportunity to erase their criminal records if they join the military.  Sex offenders or anyone convicted of a violent crime wouldn't be eligible.

Rep. Mike Bost
Credit ilga.gov

Representative Mike Bost proposes allowing other felons the chance for a clean slate.

If the military accepts them, and they're discharged honorably, they'd be eligible to get their record expunged.

"I'm from the military.  I know what's involved with being trained in the military.  I know what you've got to do ." -Rep. Mike Bost

The Illinois legislature debates a lot of measures intended to give criminals a second chance - but they're usually introduced by Democrats from Chicago. Bost is a Republican from Murphysboro, in Southern Illinois.

That wasn't lost on one of those Chicago Democrats - Representative Will Davis - as heard in this exchange:

DAVIS: "So when there have been expungement bills that have come through here before - do you remember how you might have voted on some of those?"

BOST: "Yeah, I didn't vote for them."

DAVIS: So what do you think was wrong with those bills that all of a sudden, we should support this one?"

BOST: "I didn't necessarily agree with the litmus test."

This measure got a mix of Republican and Democratic support and won approval on a 67 to 41 vote.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.