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SB-731 heading to Gov. Newsom's desk will seal records 4 years after some offenders' release

A bill heading to the governor's desk will allow records to be sealed for some people
A bill heading to the governor's desk will allow records to be sealed for some people 02:14

CALIFORNIA — A bill heading to Gov. Newsom's desk will allow some people to have their records sealed four years after that person's release.

"Ten months after my 18th birthday, I was involved in a robbery," Jay Jordan spoke about how 20 years later, that charge is still creating barriers to employment, joining a homeowners association, or chaperoning his son's field trip. 

Jordan, the CEO of the Alliance of Safety and Justice, is now sponsoring SB-731.

The bill would automatically seal conviction and arrest records for most former offenders not convicted of another felony for four years after completing their sentence.

"There's the old saying that the most effective way of predicting future behavior is past behavior. And yet, within a short period of time, under this very radical bill, these records will be sealed," said El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

When asked if there are people this bill would help, Pierson said he strongly believes in rehabilitation but that the legislation needs to specify who can have their records sealed, considering it applies to Domestic Violence and repeated DUI offenders.

When Jay Jordan was asked about the people who aren't rehabilitated and slip through the cracks, he said, "What I love about SB-731 is that there's a fail-safe. No one gets an expungement unless the DA approves."

Opponents of the bill say it wouldn't accomplish its goal because employers can use search engines like Google to look up public records.

The bill failed in the assembly a year ago, but the senate approved an amended version on Aug. 18, now sending it to Gov. Newsom's desk.

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