Rep. Turner authored the legislation, House Bill 1211, with Sen. Taylor serving as co-sponsor in the Senate. The legislation has two separate components. First, it allows a person charged with certain crimes to petition a court to restrict disclosure of arrest records related to arrest if they are not prosecuted or charges are dismissed, they are acquitted of criminal charges, or a conviction is vacated.
“This is a bipartisan supported bill we have been working on for over six years and today it will go into effect,” said Rep. Turner. “For individual families, the impact is vast. It means they can petition the court, have their record sealed, and be able to pursue job opportunities to provide for themselves and their families.”
The second component to qualify for the petition requires the individual to wait eight years after completion of the related sentence, being released from prison or from parole and they must not be a sex offender or a violent offender. The individual must also not have been convicted of a felony since the completion of the sentence.
If limited access is granted to an individual, they would not be required to disclose their conviction on employment applications. The law aims to improve outcomes for those pursuing educational or professional goals after having served a sentence for a non-violent criminal conviction.
“This legislation is based on redemption. Those individuals who made a mistake in the past, who have been charged and convicted, are able to wipe the slate clean,” said Rep. Turner. “This gives them the opportunity to go forward with their lives and pursue opportunities that would have been limited to them otherwise, pursue employment and ultimately to provide for their families.”