Senator Amy Volk Seeks to Seal Conviction Records for Certain Job Seekers

Contact:
Jim Cyr
Communications Director
Office of the Maine Senate President
(207)287-1501

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Senator Amy Volk Bill Seeks to Seal Conviction Records for Certain Job Seekers

Law Would Open Door for Employment Opportunities for Those Who Remain Crime-Free for Seven Years

 AUGUSTA – Maine Senator Amy Volk (R-Cumberland) is sponsoring a bill that would seal conviction records under certain circumstances, in order to remove barriers to employment for those who have not committed crimes in seven years.

The bill, LD 1202, “An Act to Clear a Path to Employment,” is currently in front of the Maine Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for consideration.

The bill seeks to establish a process for sealing records under certain circumstances. In order to be eligible, seven years must have passed since the individual’s date of release from a correctional facility.

Other criteria include:

  • The crime the job seeker was convicted of was a Class C, D, or E crime.
  • The crime did not include domestic violence or sexual assault.
  • The individual has not been convicted of any other crime in the seven year period.

Senator Volk told the committee, “Roughly one in three adults in the U.S. have a criminal record, and many of them face significant challenges obtaining employment. This is particularly unfortunate, given that we know steady work is critical in preventing recidivism.”

Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed similar legislation that was approved by a Republican legislature. Between 2009 and 2014, 23 states plus the District of Columbia enacted legislation to seal, expunge or shield records from non-law enforcement background checks. Thirty-five states now have some sort of records clearance for misdemeanors and 28 of those even permit clearance of certain felony convictions.

LD 1202 would also reward those who participate in education and job training by reducing the waiting period for sealing conviction records even further.

“April is ‘Second Chance Month’ for those who have turned their lives around after being convicted of crimes, so I believe this is an appropriate time to consider this legislation.”

There was a public hearing for LD 1202 on Friday, April 21, 2017. It is expected to be considered by the full Legislature in the coming weeks.

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