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Law sponsored by Martinez gives former offenders a second chance

martinez 052016CHICAGO — A new law that gives ex-offenders a chance to pursue a career in the health care field becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the initiative in the Illinois Senate.

“I’m a believer in second chances, especially when someone has committed a non-violent offense at a young age,” Martinez said. “We’ve taken a needed step forward by giving former offenders an opportunity to prove that they are rehabilitated and be able to petition the state for a health care license.” 

Under the new law Martinez championed, health care professionals who have had their licenses revoked or denied due to a past felony conviction could petition the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to restore or issue their license.

When deciding if a person should be granted a license, IDFPR must take into account the seriousness of the crime, prior disciplinary actions by state and federal agencies and the date of the conviction, among other factors. The department may refuse to issue or restore any license that has been revoked.

Additionally, IDFPR would not be able to restore or issue a license to anyone who has committed a sex crime. Such individuals would also be banned for life from receiving a health care license.

“The law has very important safeguards in place that prevent sex offenders from ever becoming licensed,” Martinez said.

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