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New legislation streamlines expungement for Californians with older convictions

People with past criminal records can permanently seal their records under SB731
People with past criminal records can permanently seal their records under SB731 00:47

People who have past criminal records will be able to permanently seal their records under SB731, starting July 1.

In a joint news conference Friday morning at the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, Senator Maria Durazo, Councilmember Curren Price, several coalitions and community organizations discussed how the new legislation would impact not only Angelenos but also Californians.

SB 731 was signed into law last fall by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making California the first state in American history to allow almost all old convictions on a person's criminal record to be permanently sealed.

"What SB 731 does is allow men and women who are living with old convictions, many 30 to 40 years old, to have the opportunity to participate in life with equality and to have the opportunity to go and look for housing without wondering if something that happened in 1980 would come up," said Saun Hough with Californians for Safety and Justice. "It allows Californians to have the opportunity to be the parents that they would chose to be by participating in their children's programs at school."

According to Hough, it was their intention to pass legislation that would remove the barriers to employment, education, and housing for millions of Californians and well over a quarter million of Angelenos.

"When an individual completes their sentence, they should have already 'paid their debt to society.' They did everything that was told and expected of them," Durazo said. "They accepted responsibility for their actions."

According to Durazo, many Californians while incarcerated enroll in counseling, take classes and prepare for reentry into their communities. However, after those individuals are released, many of them face barriers due to their records to build a new life for themselves and their families.

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