Felons who serve in the military may get an opportunity to have their criminal records wiped clean.
Long before he was a State Representative, Mike Bost was a Marine.
BOST: “I was an electronic specialist. Repaired radars that deal with tactical air control units. And two of the guys that worked there with me were there because a judge said, son, you got two choices and neither one’s in my county.”
Bost – who’s from Murphysboro, in Southern Illinois – says one of them was from South Florida.
BOST: “He had a southern drawl worse than mine … And I asked him – his nickname was Hawk – ‘Hawk, what are you doing in and why are you in for six years?’ and he said ‘Oh, Mike, I got a great taste for alligator tail. I was out in the swamps and I was poaching alligators and I got caught one night and got drug into the county jail.”
Bost says that was back when criminals could go into the military to avoid serving time in prison.
Now, the Republican proposes a sort of reverse. If a felon gets out of prison, is accepted into the military, and receives an honorable discharge, Bost proposes making that felon eligible to get his criminal record expunged.
The Illinois legislature debates a lot of measures intended to give criminals a second chance – but they’re usually introduced by Democrats from Chicago. That Bost is a Republican Southern Illinois wasn’t lost on one of those Chicago Democrats – Representative Will Davis – as heard in this exchange:
DAVIS: “So when there have been expungement bills that have come through here before – do you remember how you might have voted on some of those?”
BOST: “Yeah, I didn’t vote for them.”
DAVIS: So what do you think was wrong with those bills that all of a sudden, we should support this one?”
BOST: “I didn’t necessarily agree with the litmus test.”
This measure got a mix of Republican and Democratic support – and won approval on a 67 to 41 vote.
Bost says if someone’s willing to put his life on the line to serve his country, it’s a sign he’s turned his life around.
– Amanda Vinicky.