SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — The California Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would create pathways for residents with old criminal convictions and arrest records to seal them, thereby removing a significant barrier to employment for many in the state.
Introduced by senators María Elena Durazo and Steven Bradford (both D-Los Angeles) and supported by 110 groups, S.B. 731 creates a process to seal conviction and arrest records once a person has fully completed their sentence and successfully went two years without further contact with the authorities.READ MORE: UPDATE: Coroner Identifies Man Killed in Juneteenth Mass Shooting at Oakland's Lake Merritt
“S.B. 731 will help end the systemic disenfranchisement and employment barriers faced by millions of Californians living with an old conviction,” said Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. “It’s past time to change laws that hold back people living with old conviction records. We cannot continue to let legal barriers to housing and employment for people who have served their time perpetuate racial injustice and economic instability that keeps generations of people trapped in cycles of poverty and harm.”READ MORE: Animal Rights Group Sues Park Service Over Dying Elk At Point Reyes National Seashore
Arrest records and convictions can keep residents in California from jobs and other opportunities. According to Californians for Safety and Justice, the state loses an estimated $20 million annually in gross domestic product “due to the widespread unemployment and underemployment of people living with a past conviction.”
The bill received 30 votes in the senate. It heads to the state assembly next for a vote, before going before the governor.MORE NEWS: Mayor Breed Vetoes Bill Providing Free Muni Service, Citing Cost Concerns
The bill was co-sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice, Homeboy industries – the first time in the organization’s history it sponsored legislation – Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, the Los Angeles Regional Re-entry Project, A New Way of Life, A Time for Change Foundation and Pillars of the Community.