Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin Applauds Advancement of Bipartisan, Bicameral Clean Slate Bill in Pennsylvania
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Carmel Martin Applauds Advancement of Bipartisan, Bicameral Clean Slate Bill in Pennsylvania

Washington, D.C. —Today, the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would enable individuals to have qualifying minor records automatically sealed after they have remained crime-free for a set period of time. S.B. 529—sponsored by Sens. Scott Wagner (R-PA) and Anthony Williams (D-PA), and the House version of the bill, H.B. 1419, introduced by Representatives Sheryl Delozier (R-88th) and Jordan Harris (D-186th)—are known as the Clean Slate Act. First introduced in bipartisan and bicameral fashion last year, Clean Slate was re-introduced this year with over 28 Senators and 40 Representatives as co-sponsors. This comes just a few weeks after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced his support for the Clean Slate Act and his plans to ban the box for all non-civil service position applications in the state. The Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission followed shortly after with a ban-the-box announcement of its own, affecting more than 55,000 job applicants in the commonwealth. Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement reacting to the news:

The Clean Slate bill is a critical aspect of commonsense criminal justice reform. We know that even a minor criminal record can present lifelong barriers to economic security and mobility; yet, people with prior nonviolent convictions who have remained crime-free for three to four years are no more likely to be re-arrested than the general population. Clean Slate is a vital step that will enable thousands of Pennsylvanians to have a second chance. Enabling individuals with low-level nonviolent convictions to earn a clean slate after remaining crime-free means that Pennsylvania could make strides toward cutting down its poverty rate, boosting labor force participation, saving taxpayer dollars through reduced incarceration costs, and increasing public safety. We urge the Pennsylvania House and Senate to swiftly pass this commonsense legislation and send it to Gov. Wolf’s desk.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya Arditi at or 202-741-6258.

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