Bipartisan Clean Slate Legislation Nears Senate Vote

HARRISBURG — Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) and Senator Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) that would provide for automatic sealing of criminal records for minor offenses received the unanimous support of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senate Bill 529 would eliminate the hurdle that individuals with a criminal record face when seeking opportunities, particularly for employment.  Senate Bill 529 and a companion measure, House Bill 1419, are the first “Clean Slate” bills of their kind in the nation. 

“Senate Bill 529 would allow for the automatic sealing of low level, non-violent criminal offenses, eliminating the need for individuals to petition the court,” Wagner said. “This legislation will create new opportunities for men and women across the Commonwealth who have dealt with barriers due to minor criminal records, providing a ‘Clean Slate’ going forward.”

Under the legislation, misdemeanors would be sealed after 10 years of the individual being crime-free and as long as court obligations have been met. Non-convictions would be sealed after 60 days and fulfillment of court obligations.

It also exempts individuals from having to disclose sealed criminal records, a current hurdle for individuals attempting to obtain a job or housing.

“A bedrock of the criminal justice system is that individuals serve time and reintegrate themselves into society,” said Williams. “Successful reintegration requires access to opportunity. This bill gets us closer to that goal.”

Senate Bill 529 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT: Erin Marsicano, 717-787-3817, emarsicano@pasen.gov