The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation allowing for expungement of a person’s criminal record if the offense was a nonviolent felony, the person has not been convicted of subsequent crimes and ten years have passed since the initial conviction.
Sen. Joe Sweeden said his proposal would empower people to rebuild their lives after they have paid their debt to society.
“In order for people to rebuild their lives and become productive members of society, they must be able to find employment,” said Sweeden, D-Pawhuska. “Once their debt to society has been paid, we have to give them a chance for redemption. After ten years without any subsequent criminal convictions, it doesn’t make sense that a felony should still serve as a formidable barrier to finding a job.”
Senate Bill 2200 would direct district attorneys to file a motion to expunge a person’s arrest and criminal records if the offense was nonviolent and the person has not been convicted of any other misdemeanor or felony. The measure stipulates that no felony or misdemeanor charges shall be pending against the person and that ten years must have passed since the conviction.
SB 2200 passed the Judiciary committee unanimously with both Democrats and Republicans supporting the bill. Senator Sweeden thanked Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Anderson for allowing the bill to be heard and allowing it to continue through the legislative process.
“This legislation is a positive step toward helping people who have straightened up their lives,” Sweeden said. “The bill still has some work to be done on it, but hopefully we can fix these problems. These are individuals who have already turned their lives around and become positive contributors to society.”
“This proposal can help these people gain economic independence and build a better life for their families.”