Bipartisan Second Chance Task Force Co-Chairs Reintroduce Legislation to Streamline the Sealing of Eligible Arrest Records

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), co-chairs of the Bipartisan Second Chance Task Force, re-introduced two bills to streamline the sealing of eligible arrest records for individuals who have served their time and remained crime-free on both the state and federal levels. 

After decades of overcriminalization, between 70 million and 100 million Americans have criminal records that appear in routine background checks, preventing them from obtaining jobs, housing, and educational opportunities. Millions of these individuals are eligible to have their records sealed or expunged, but less than 10 percent have done so because the process is far too expensive, time-consuming, and complicated.

Trone is joined by Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) in re-introducing the bipartisan Fresh Start Act to provide states with funding to implement an automatic record sealing or expungement program to quickly clear eligible criminal records and allow individuals to move forward in life. 

Blunt Rochester is joined by Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) in re-introducing the Clean Slate Act to automatically seal federal arrest records for those not convicted and records for those convicted of low-level, nonviolent drug offenses after successfully completing their sentences. Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Annie Kuster (D-NH) are all original cosponsors. 

“As co-chairs of the Bipartisan Second Chance Task Force, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester and I are committed to introducing common-sense, data-driven policies that break down barriers to successful reentry,” said Congressman David Trone. ”The United States has the highest recidivism rate in the world because we neglect to give folks a real second chance when they’re released from prison. We need to do our part in fixing current practices that only perpetuate the systemic racism communities of color have experienced for decades. The Clean Slate and Fresh Start Acts deliver on that commitment…” 

“The Fresh Start Act, aptly introduced during Second Chance Month, will provide state and local governments with the resources needed to implement automated record-sealing and expungement laws. If passed, this law will unlock second chances for millions of Americans and help set formerly incarcerated people on a pathway to prosperity,” said Anthony Lamorena, Senior Federal Affairs Manager at the R Street Institute. “The R Street Institute is happy to support this important legislation, and we applaud Rep. David Trone (D-MD) for his steadfast leadership and bipartisan approach to working on this vital issue…”

For Fresh Start Act one-pager, click here.

For Fresh Start Act bill text, click here.

The Fresh Start Act is endorsed by the Black & Jewish Unity Coalition, Brennan Center, Center for American Progress, Clean Slate Initiative, Crosspoint Inc., DreamJustice, Due Process Institute, International Community Justice Association, JPMorgan Chase Policy Center, Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections, Oriana House, Pure 1, R St. Institute, Right on Crime, Third Way

For Clean Slate Act one-pager, click here.

For Clean Slate Act bill text, click here.

The Clean Slate Act is endorsed by the American Conservative Union, Brennan Center for Justice, Center for American Progress, Clean Slate Initiative, Code for America, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Faith and Freedom Coalition, JPMorgan Chase, Justice Action Network (JAN), LinkedIn, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, Right on Crime, R Street, Third Way, and Business Roundtable.