Illinois law makers consider second chance legislation: remove lifetime bar to school employment based on an enumerated offense, and provide a right to appeal health care worker license revocations and denials based on criminal background.
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2015 Illinois Second Chance Legislation

Currently, several pieces of second chance legislation are being considered by the Illinois General Assembly.  Specifically, the bills would benefit individuals who have a criminal background and want to work in health care or  education. In March, I published an Op Ed piece in the Sun-Times, in which I urged public support for the legislation http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/472726/scarlett-letters-need-life. Let’s take a look at how these bills are doing.

Appeal Rights for Denied or Revoked Health Care Worker License

Earlier this year I discussed in a post that certain convictions now bar you from obtaining a health care worker license. In 2014, a bill was introduced that would have provided a right to appeal a health care worker license denial or revocation.  The bill failed to pass but has been reintroduced as Senate Bill (SB) 42.

SB 42 is nearly identical to its predecessor, SB 642. The only difference is that SB 42 includes an additional requirement: appeal rights will only be granted to someone whose criminal misconduct  occurred more than 5 years ago.

The bill has been passed by the Senate and is now awaiting a vote in the House.

Eliminating Lifetime Bar for School Employment

Under the School Code, a school district is barred from hiring anyone who has been convicted of any sex or felony narcotic offenses, referred to as “enumerated offenses.”

HB 494 would eliminate the lifetime bar to hiring someone with an enumerated felony drug conviction. Instead, a school district would be allowed to hire someone with a drug conviction, as long as it has been at least 5 years since the person completed their sentence. The bill would also eliminate felony marijuana possession from the definition of an enumerated drug offense.

The bill leaves intact the ban against hiring someone with a sex crime conviction but removes public indecency and prostitution from the list of enumerated sex offenses.

HB 494 has been passed by the House and is now pending in the Senate, where it has a number of supporters.

Periodically, I will provide updates on the status of this second chance legislation. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a question about the legislation I’ve discussed.

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