Key legislation to expand record-sealing in Illinois has been signed into law after advocacy by the CCH Reentry Project and RROCI coalition partners.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2373 at an August 24 ceremony hosted by the Safer Foundation, a Reentry Project member.
Effective immediately, HB2373 expands record-sealing eligibility to more felonies, three years after completion of sentence. Before, only nine felonies were eligible for sealing.
HB 2373 would offer relief to people in reentry who face years of discrimination because of an old record.
State Rep. Camille Lilly and State Sen. Don Harmon (both D-Oak Park) sponsored the measure. With bi-partisan support, HB2373 passed the Illinois House, 80-34, on April 27 and the Senate, 36-19, on May 30.
After the bill-signing, Rep. Lilly said it was effectively “Restorative Justice and Criminal Reform Day” in Illinois.
Convictions that cannot be sealed under the new law are those related to domestic violence, sex crimes, animal abuse, or driving under the influence.
The Reentry Project advocates with the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI). The coalition was organized in 2015 by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance.
RROCI advocates policies that remove barriers for ex-offenders in community reentry, including lifetime employment bans. In 2016, RROCI successfully advocated four state laws that ended lifetime hiring bans in schools, park districts, and healthcare facilities. Like last year, RROCI succeeded in enacting HB2373 in a single legislative session.
Gloria Davis and Ali Simmons were at the forefront of CCH leaders advocating for the bill, with support from Senior Organizer Rachel Ramirez and Policy Specialist Jonathan Holmes.
– Anne Bowhay, Media