RESOLUTION OF THE PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION IN SUPPORT OF Senate Bill No. 166, PRINTER'S NO. 102 AND HB 1175, PRINTER'S NO. 1521, LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR EXPUNGEMENT OF CERTAIN SECOND DEGREE, THIRD DEGREE AND UNGRADED MISDEMEANORS

WHEREAS, on February 23, 2015, the Pennsylvania Senate passed, by unanimous vote, Senate Bill 166, Printer's No. 102 (SB 166), providing for the expungement of certain second degree, third degree, and ungraded misdemeanor convictions for individuals who have remained free of arrest or conviction for a number of years; and

WHEREAS, on May 11, 2015, House Bill 1175, Printer's No. 1521 (HB 1175), containing language identical to SB 166, was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, SB 166 and HB 1175 would allow individuals to eliminate mostly non-violent criminal convictions from criminal history record information; and

WHEREAS, there is great importance in individuals becoming free from the stain of mistakes made early in life to enjoy the opportunities that a clean criminal history background check will afford them.

WHEREAS, when evaluated on their skills and qualifications for a job or housing, not just their past, individuals who are free from the stain of mistakes made early in life will have greater opportunity to become responsible and tax-paying community members and Pennsylvania will benefit by developing a workforce that is employed to its full potential, unburdened by mistakes of the past; and

WHEREAS, there are similar laws in existence that permit the expungement of more serious offenses, including felony offenses, in sister jurisdictions such as the State of New Jersey, which have had no adverse impact to law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, the proposed legislation contained in SB 166 and HB 1175 sufficiently addresses the dual concerns of individuals and law enforcement.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports Senate Bill 166, Printers No. 102, House Bill No. 1175, Printer's No. 1521 and any similar legislation providing the opportunity for individuals to expunge convictions for low-level misdemeanors after remaining arrest or prosecution free for a number of years;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor's designee(s) communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association's position on Senate Bill No. 166, Printer's No. 102, House Bill No. 1175, Printer's No. 1521 and any similar legislation to the Governor, the General Assembly and the public and take whatever action is necessary to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION,
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: June 25, 2015