Mayor rallies behind bill to wipe criminal records clean

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is rallying behind a new Tennessee law that will allow people to have their criminal records wiped clean for a price.

A bill that would allow some convicted felons to wipe their records clean is on Governor Bill Haslam desk awaiting his signature.

Friday, Mayor Wharton congratulated state legislators for putting politics aside in the interest of people in need of a second chance.

Representative Karen Camper's bill allows some convicted felons to clear their records of non-sexual and non-violent crimes committed at least five years ago.

"I think it will bring crime down, I think it will stop some of that because people will have hope," said Rep. Karen Camper.

"This is what our city needs, you know, this is what people like me need that are trying to get their lives back on track," said Cindy Gold, Advance Memphis.

Camper's original bill did not include the 350 dollar fee imposed on applicants. That cost was added after some debate and will be reviewed after one year.

In the meantime, Mayor Wharton plans to organize a fundraiser to assist with some of those fees.

"We'll find somewhere to come up so that no one will be deterred from seeking this much needed relief," said the mayor.

Once the bill becomes law, qualified candidates will have to apply at the criminal court clerk's office in the county in which they were convicted.

The law will go into effect July 1, 2012, but Camper says the actual application is still in the approval process and may not be available by then.

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