HB 5341, also known as the F.A.T.E. (Fair Access To Employment) Bill, was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday, August 10. This legislation clarifies that outstanding legal financial obligations like fines, fees, and court costs cannot be considered when reviewing a sealing petition.
Thank you for your advocacy!
Effective immediately, as Public Act 100-0776, this bill passed the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support led by the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI). In 2017, RROCI championed one of the most expansive record sealing laws in the country. But, individuals in Illinois were still facing barriers to sealing their records because of excessive fines, fees, and court costs that they were unable to pay. This legislation offered a common sense solution to allow individuals to seal their records and obtain employment to pay their outstanding financial obligations.
William is a CRS leader who will be directly impacted by HB 5341. He says, “This bill will be a tremendous help in my life. As a person with a criminal record, I’m worried about how to pay off the fines, because it’s difficult trying to get employment. But thanks to this bill getting passed, I can look forward to a better life after getting my record sealed.”
Thank you to everyone who helped to remove these invisible barriers to re-entry by creating fair access to employment! Thank you for meeting with your legislators, making calls, sending emails, submitting witness slips, writing letters, and traveling to Springfield to advocate for HB 5431! Thank you to our chief sponsors, Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth and Senator Don Harmon, for championing this bill!
Finally, congratulations and thank you to our amazing partners in RROCI, which is spearheaded by Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights! RROCI is committed to solutions driven with a community voice and believes that Illinois needs a fair system of justice that recognizes human dignity and that everyone deserves a meaningful future.