Harris: Expanding Clean Slate would give thousands more Pennsylvanians their second chance

HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 – Following a House Judiciary Committee hearing and subsequent rally by supporters, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic Whip, called for swift action on H.B. 1826, legislation he’s co-sponsoring with Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, which would expand Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law to provide more Pennsylvanians their second chance.

“What we’ve seen since Clean Slate was first enacted is countless Pennsylvanians having doors opened for them to better education, housing and employment that were previously not available due to a minor crime they committed in their past,” Harris said. “This expansion has bipartisan support because everyone realizes that it’s not only the right thing to do for folks who have paid their debt to society and are on the right track, but it improves our communities and makes them safer by helping people reach higher levels of success and achievement. I’ve very thankful to team up again with Representative Delozier in this fight.”

“Four years ago, we took the first step in supporting residents who worked to reform their lives and earn a second chance,” Delozier said. “Across the Commonwealth, men and women have been eager to move on from their past, find work, stable housing and provide for their families. Clean Slate legislation helped them to achieve those goals and escape the burden of their past mistakes. This new bill expands upon the success of the initial Clean Slate bill, and I am proud to be the prime sponsor with Representative Harris. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, but a human issue, and I look forward to seeing this bill cross the governor’s desk.”

Currently, Clean Slate provides automatic criminal record sealing to those convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors, misdemeanors punishable by two years or less in prison, summary convictions, and charges not resulting in convictions. House Bill 1826 would expand automated sealing to low-level drug felony convictions after 10 years with a crime-free record.

House Bill 1826 is supported by a wide range of bipartisan groups, including the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Pennsylvania State Police, Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Right on Crime, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Franklin Together Reentry Coalition, Americans for Tax Reform, and Justice Action Network.

As of June 15, 2022, Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law has sealed more than 42 million total cases and nearly 63 million total offenses