Marylanders with nonviolent criminal records might not have to part the seas to have a second chance, thanks to a state Senate bill designed to allow them to shield certain offenses from their records after a period of no criminal activity.
State Senator Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore County, related the story of Moses to encourage her peers to vote for a “Second Chance” bill.
“As a young man, (Moses) had what he felt was a civil rights problem, people discriminating against him, so he committed what you would today call manslaughter,” Kelley said on the floor of the Senate.
“But later on, in reading our sacred text, we found Moses not only was forgiven by the Almighty, but Moses was also used to free an entire nation of bondage and slavery.”
She continued on to highlight the plights of the many Marylanders with offenses on their records preventing them from getting jobs, and indicated that if they had a chance to shield their criminal history, they too could begin again and become productive citizens.
“They can be like Moses,” she said.
The bill’s sponsor, state Senator Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, responded warmly to her comments, and joked, “I wanted to thank the distinguished senator from Baltimore County for her remarks and her parable. I wanted to be clear, manslaughter is not one of the shieldable offenses.”
The bill will be reviewed once more before coming to a vote in the state Senate.
— Anjali Shastry