Senate Committee to Vote On Expungement Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee is schedule a vote on SB 391 for Monday, June 17, 2013. The committee is composed of 15 Republicans and 9 Democrats. Senator Jake Corman is the chair. A complete list of committee members can be found here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=3&CteeBody=S. The committee must pass the bill in order for the full Senate to have an opportunity to vote on the bill.

SB 391 modernizes Pennyslvania’s expungement law by letting low-level offenders to expunge their record after they have proven that they are rehabilitated and met substantial waiting periods. Seventeen states have expanded their expungement laws in the past five years. Expungement expansion has been supported by Republican and Democrat state legislatures.

Please contact your representative and let them know you support SB 391.

A second chance for people convicted of low-level offenses

A second chance for people convicted of low-level offenses

Senate Bill 391

At a time when the federal government is spending billions of dollars bailing out banks, manufacturers and foreign governments, Pennsylvania should take the opportunity to give thousands of Pennsylvanians a second chance by modernizing the way it treats criminal records. State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, has introduced Senate Bill 391 to do just that.

The process by which people can apply to a court to have a criminal record removed from public view, called expungement, is currently not available to people convicted of even the lowest level of misdemeanors. This leaves tens of thousands of people branded for life as criminals in Pennsylvania.

If SB391 is Enacted

If SB 391 is enacted, Pennsylvania will join a growing list of states that have modernized their laws to reduce the period during which the consequences of a criminal record can continue to prejudice people convicted of low-level offenses. The bill won unanimous support in committee on Sept. 27, and Sen. Solobay said he is hoping the bill will soon win approval from the full Senate.

SB 391 would allow people who were convicted of second- or third-degree misdemeanors to have those records expunged after a certain period. For third-degree misdemeanor convictions, the required waiting period without arrests or convictions would be seven years. For second-degree misdemeanors, that waiting period would be increased to 10 years.

Solobay Reintroduces Expungement Legislation

Solobay Reintroduces Expungement Legislation

Senate Bill 391 would allow those convicted of certain misdemeanors of the second and third degree to apply to have the record expunged if they keep a clean record for seven years and 10 years, respectively.

State Sen. Tim Solobay has reintroduced legislation intended to curb prison costs and lower recidivism rates by clearing minor criminal records so that former offenders can find employment.

Senate Bill 391 would allow individuals who were convicted of certain misdemeanors of the second and third degree to apply to have the record expunged if they keep a clean record for seven years and 10 years, respectively.

“Society isn’t helped by being stubbornly strict with lawbreakers who have paid their debt,” Solobay said. “If we want them to become productive members of society, we have to remove the stigma by clearing the record when appropriate.  This will keep them out of prison and everybody wins.”

Pennsylvania’s prison population has jumped from just more than 8,000 to more than 51,000 in the past 20 years, and costs have risen 37 percent in the past 10 years.