Gov. Wolf signs bill to expand sealing of criminal records

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvanians who have served sentences for certain non-violent crimes could have their records hidden from potential employers and others under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Senate Bill 166, sponsored by Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Bucks/Montgomery), allows people to petition the courts for an order of limited access for second- and third-degree misdemeanors. The criminal histories would still be available to law enforcement and state licensing agencies.

The petitioner would have to remain free of arrest or prosecution for seven to 10 years.

“The United States is the world leader in incarceration and a criminal record often carries a lifetime of consequences that often lead to poverty or re-incarceration,” Wolf said in a statement. “This law is a common sense, positive and unprecedented step to help Pennsylvanians with minor or dated criminal records have a fighting chance at opportunities for gainful employment.”

Second- and third-degree misdemeanors include crimes such as criminal trespassing, vandalism, or indecent assault.

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