Clean-slate bill would seal some criminal records

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers has introduced legislation to automatically seal certain criminal records from potential employers and others.

House Bill 1984 would seal the records of people who have been convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors and remained crime-free for 10 years and people who have been convicted of summary offenses and remained crime-free for five years.

The criminal histories would still be available to law enforcement, but supporters say it would not impact the ability to find a job, quality housing, or attain higher education.

The bill differs slightly from Senate Bill 166, signed into law this year by Gov. Tom Wolf as Act 5, which allows people to petition the courts for an order of limited access for second- and third-degree misdemeanors. Since House Bill 1984 would automatically seal criminal records, supporters say it would relieve the overburdened court system.

The legislation also includes first-degree misdemeanors, which aren’t included in Act 5.

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