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New law erases past transgressions

OKLAHOMA CITY—A new law is allowing some criminals to wipe away past transgressions that used to show up on background checks.

House Bill 3091 became law on Nov. 1 but it is not without controversy.

Some believe the bill helps criminals while putting employers at a disadvantage.

David Slane said, “Many people don’t realize that even if a case is dismissed, it’s still on their arrest record and follows them.”

A section of the law allows some criminals to expunge their record after a period of time.

Slane says the changes would really affect those with misdemeanor offenses or non-violent felony convictions after ten years.

He said, “Take a college student that’s in college that maybe gets caught with some marijuana and receives a conviction and they graduate college four years later and then they’re looking for a job. Then ‘pow’ they lose out because they have something on their record.”

The law also affects people like Yassire Kori, who was charged with domestic violence and strangulation.

Ultimately, the charges were dropped but continued to haunt him every time he applied for a job.

“You pass everything. You pass drug tests, you pass the interview and you are qualified and you have everything, but on your record it says that you violated the law. So when they tell me there is no way we can hire you, it hurts me a lot.”

Kori says the old the law had the potential to actually perpetrate more crime.

He said, “If you are not given a job within a number of years, you will become even, people may go back and commit more crimes as long as there is no job.”

Those opposing the bill say employers should have the right to access an applicant’s background no matter how long it’s been since a crime was committed.

Sen. Constance Johnson was one of two senators who voted against the measure.

She says some part of the bill allows the government to access certain cases even if they are expunged.

She claims that could still have a negative effect on younger adults.