January 26, 2024 Less than a minute read

Expungement bill to help reduce recidivism under consideration 

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is supporting lawmakers’ efforts to reduce recidivism and make it easier to have a criminal record expunged.

The Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence heard testimony on legislation sponsored by Sen. Brian Williams (D-St. Louis County). Sen. Williams’ legislation was combined in committee with several other bills to form a public safety omnibus bill, SB 754, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville).

The omnibus bill includes numerous public safety provisions that touch on issues like expungement and increasing penalties for celebratory gunfire. It was later voted out of committee and is headed to the Senate floor for debate.

“The purpose of this bill is to provide a second chance for people who might have made a mistake at some point in their life,” Williams said. “Mistakes shouldn’t ruin our lives forever. This is essentially a bill that would make an effort to ensure that people have a second chance at life and give them an opportunity to be productive members of society.”

The legislation removes the cap on the number of records that can be expunged and shortens the time in which a person can petition to expunge their arrest record from three years to 18 months.

Violent and sexual offenses would not be eligible for expungement.

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In 2022, the Missouri Chamber released a public safety report, Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri, which includes recommendations to address crime in our state. As a result, the Missouri Chamber supports this effort to reform the expungement process and reduce recidivism by making it easier for justice-involved individuals to find stable housing and employment.

Phillip Arnzen, director of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber, told lawmakers, “We believe that Missourians deserve a second chance and it’s important that they can re-enter the workforce and have gainful employment.”

For more information, contact Arnzen at parnzen@mochamber.com or 573-634-3511.


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