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South Carolina Governor Vetoes Bill Meant to Erase Criminal Records

South Carolina Gov, Henry McMaster vetoed three bills Tuesday that would have required the erasing the records of people convicted of certain gun, fraudulent check and underage alcohol sales crimes, the Associated Press reports. “Second chances should be freely given when individuals have made mistakes and paid their debt to society; however, criminal history, like all history, should not be erased,” wrote McMaster, a former federal prosecutor, in his veto messages to lawmakers. When the General Assembly returns in June for a few days in special session, it can overturn the vetoes with a two-thirds vote.


McMaster urged employers to make an applicant’s criminal history instructive and not destructive, by asking for more information and context and not simply using it to rule people out. The three vetoes are the only ones the governor has issued for the more than 130 bills passed this year by the General Assembly. One bill vetoed would have allowed anyone convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun before the state passed its open-carry law this year to have the charge expunged. The second vetoed bill would require courts to expunge multiple counts of check fraud if the offender had no further charges for 10 years. The third would allow a clerk or server who sold alcohol to an underage customer to automatically have that conviction erased if they complete an education program and don’t offend again.

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