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Pa. Legislature approves ‘Clean Slate’ bill to seal lower-level criminal records

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG – People with criminal records who go 10 years without being convicted again will see the record of their lower-level, non-violent crimes automatically sealed under a bill that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf plans to sign.

The so-called “clean slate” legislation passed the Senate unanimously on Friday after getting House approval with only two “no” votes.

Records of any arrests that didn’t result in convictions would also be sealed.

The "Clean Slate" legislation would make Pennsylvania the nation's first state to automatically seal criminal records for minor, nonviolent offenses.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Delaware and Philadelphia counties, would create a process by which nonviolent misdemeanor convictions are automatically sealed after a person has gone 10 years without any additional violations.

It would not apply to certain offenses, including crimes involving firearms, sexual offenders and cruelty to animals.

Those with more serious misdemeanors can ask a county judge to consider sealing them under a different law.

Wolf says the changes will help people move on with their lives without criminal records available to public view. Criminal records can affect jobs, housing and educational opportunities.

The administration estimates nearly 3 million state residents of work age have criminal records.