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NC legislature approves bill to expunge felonies

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A bill to allow certain North Carolina felons to get a fresh start has advanced through the Senate and is now en route to the governor.

Senate members Monday voted 40-2 to approve a bill that would permit a judge to erase some nonviolent felony convictions. There was no debate for or against the bill.

Fifteen years must have passed since the conviction for the crime to be expunged, and "good moral character" must be established and vouched for. Only people convicted of nonviolent H or I felonies are eligible.

Similar bills had unsuccessfully been introduced for approximately a decade

Proponents argue it gives repentant individuals a chance to make a better life for themselves and their families. Opponents worry the measure is soft on crime and harms business owners.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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