The state Senate is considering proposals that would make it easier for people with some convictions to have them hidden from criminal records.
The bills would expand Missouri’s expungement laws to allow records of more types of crimes to be sealed.
Senator Bob Dixon’s (R-Springfield) bill is supported by multiple groups including Missouri Public Defender System and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. He thinks it’s time to offer more expungement possibilities.
“What I believe is at hand is the time for the legislature to have a very frank discussion about a real expungement process that provides a path of restoration to those who have done wrong but have learned from their mistakes and have corrected their ways over a period of time so that they can, among other things, find employment,” said Dixon.
The bills would allow more types of convictions to be expunged while still excluding it for some; particularly assaults, crimes involving a weapon, and sex crimes.
Lawmakers must decide how much it would cost to apply for an expungement. Dixon proposes increasing the application fee to $500. Legislation filed by Senator Kiki Curls (D-Kansas City) would keep it at the current $100, while a bill offered by Senator Jamilah Nasheed would waive an application fee.
Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis) said it shouldn’t be increased any more than necessary.
“I don’t think this is a group of folks we need to be making a lot of money on or taxing,” said Onder. “If the state broke even on this we’d more than benefit by the increased productivity of the people allowed to get jobs and better their livelihoods under this.”
The proposals would also lessen the time a person must wait after a conviction to seek an expungement from the current 20 years to as few as three years for non-felonies.
The three proposals are awaiting votes in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence.