HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a key criminal justice reform bill this week that would allow more Pennsylvanians to have criminal records expunged if certain conditions are met, according to state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who supported the measure.
House Bill 440 would provide for the automatic expungement of criminal records after an individual is fully acquitted of an offense, as well as automatically sealing crimes granted pardons until the expungement process is complete.
“This bill would remove a serious barrier to employment, housing, education and other critical services for individuals who are otherwise unable to complete the process of criminal record expungement due to the cost,” Sen. Yaw said. “The legislation builds on the success of the state’s Clean Slate Law, which has already led to the automatic sealing of more than 35 million minor criminal records.”
Under current law, an individual who receives a pardon or is not convicted of a crime must pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in legal fees to file for expungement. Under HB 440, individuals would still be responsible for paying all court-ordered restitution in order to qualify for record sealing. However, they would not face the additional costs of navigating the criminal record expungement process.
The bill was amended in the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For more state-related news and information, visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.
CONTACT: Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff (717) 787-3280