Politics & Government

Kansas House advances bill reducing years before record of a DUI offense can be expunged

A bill that reduces the number of years a person has to wait to expunge a DUI offense passed the House on Friday.

Current law requires a person convicted of driving under the influence to wait 10 years after the end of a sentence or probation to expunge the arrest and conviction record.

House Bill 2662, which passed 87-31, would reduce that to five years.

Rep. Jack Thimesch, R-Cunningham, said in a written explanation of his vote that this is a jobs bill that won’t affect the state’s ability to prosecute DUI offenders. Thimesch, who introduced the bill, has previously said that these records prevent young Kansans convicted of drunken driving while in high school or college from finding employment after they have completed probation.

Expunging these records sooner will allow them to begin their careers, Thimesch said.

But Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, objected to the description of the legislation as a jobs bill. She chastised the House, which gave initial approval to the bill on a 103-14 vote.

“Some of us have lost family members to drunk drivers,” Kelley told the chamber. Choices have consequences and to present drunken driving as youthful indiscretion is wrong, she said.

Some House members changed their votes when they considered final passage of the bill. It still passed and will now head to the Senate.