HARTFORD – The Connecticut House of Representatives today voted to approve a Clean Slate bill, S.B. 1019, which would allow some people living with a record of conviction to earn the chance at an automatically erased record if they go for a defined period of time without a new conviction. The bill also includes an anti-discrimination provision to allow someone who is discriminated against on the basis of an erased record to seek redress through the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. With today’s vote, the bill now awaits action by Governor Ned Lamont.
Gus Marks-Hamilton, Interim Campaign Manager had the following reaction:
“Connecticut has taken an important step forward with this Clean Slate legislation, which is the most inclusive in the country so far, and our state still has work to do. The promise of Clean Slate – that if someone has earned the chance to be part of society, they will truly have the chance to be part of that society – should belong to everyone living with a criminal record. Racial disparities in felony convictions, which are created by systemic racism in arrests, prosecutions, and sentencing, mean the Clean Slate passed today is not the vehicle for racial justice that it could have been. The carve outs in this bill mean that not every family struggling to survive because of the collateral consequences of a loved one’s record will have a light at the end of the tunnel. The legislature must come back in a future session to make Clean Slate inclusive for all who need it, and this bill still represents progress. Today, we celebrate the hard work of justice-impacted people, particularly Smart Justice leaders, who made this moment possible, and we urge the Governor to sign this bill into law.”
Marquita Reale, ACLU of Connecticut Smart Justice leader, said the following:
“Clean Slate is about human rights, racial justice, opportunity, and hope, and we remain committed to creating Clean Slate for all, including with the important anti-discrimination protections included in this bill. Smart Justice has been outside of the Capitol in the wind, rain, snow, and heat to call on our elected officials to listen to the people most harmed by the collateral consequences of a criminal record. Today, legislators began to listen. We urge Governor Lamont to do the same by signing this bill into law.”
During the bill’s Senate floor debate, legislators amended S.B. 1019 to remove some people living with Class C felony convictions from the chance to earn an erased record. Through separate legislation, the House and Senate also created additional amendments to remove people living with certain Class D felony convictions and Class A misdemeanor convictions.
This is the third year the Connecticut General Assembly considered Clean Slate legislation. In 2020, legislation introduced on Clean Slate received a public hearing but was cut short by the legislature’s closure due to COVID-19.
For Smart Justice leader Shelby Henderson’s speech regarding the original version of the bill: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/clean-slate-about-basic-human-rights
For Smart Justice leader Donald Rivers’s speech regarding the original version of the bill: https://www.acluct.org/en/news/im-fighting-clean-slate-my-family