Last year, Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a so-called “clean slate” law that cleanses people’s records for some minor criminal offenses, and now a similar measure is gaining traction at the federal level.
U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th, is one of the prime movers behind the Clean Slate Act, which also should have backing from the populace. A story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said a new poll found that 71 percent of those responding support such a federal law, with just 19 percent opposed.
Reschenthaler’s co-sponsor of the House bill, Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, said constituents are approaching lawmakers with concerns that old marijuana convictions are preventing them from getting jobs.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to really understands ... that this is a necessary step,” Blunt Rochester told the P-G.
Rebecca Vallas of the Center for American progress agreed, saying, “Any criminal record – even an old marijuana conviction – can be a life sentence to poverty. It can stand in the way of employment and housing ... like a scarlet ‘A’ that haunts you for decades.”
Here’s hoping that this bipartisan bill finds bipartisan support in Congress.