2023 Bills

SB 58: Expunging Criminal Records Quickly

This bill passed the Senate unanimously but did not receive a vote in the House. Review our tracker for more information.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

When someone who has committed a crime takes responsibility, does what they can to make the victim whole, and demonstrates a commitment to live crime free, they deserve to move forward without the baggage of a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction can make it difficult to secure employment, qualify for an occupational license, find housing, or pursue higher education. Expungement provides a valuable opportunity for former offenders to improve their chances of successfully rebuilding their lives and becoming productive members of society by removing the barriers that a criminal record can create.

The Libertas Institute has worked to make the expungement process more just, transparent, and efficient for years. In 2017, we worked on SB 12 to remove traffic offenses and other minor infractions from hampering people who were otherwise eligible for expungement. In 2018, we supported SB 62, making it easier to expunge arrests that did not result in prosecution. The passage of HB 431 in 2019 made expungement automatic for misdemeanors if an offender complied with court orders and was crime free for a period of years. Last year, we worked on technical clarifications in SB 35 that made the process simpler for petitioners and government agencies. 

This year, we are supporting SB 58, sponsored by Senator Lincoln Filmore, which aims to bring further commonsense improvements to the expungement process. Currently, after a person has earned an expungement, a law enforcement agency has an entire year to expunge the record. This bill shortens that period to ninety days, allowing deserving individuals to reap the benefits of expungement in a timely manner. 

More could still be done to cut costs and reduce the red tape involved in applying for expungement. However, our trajectory of consistent improvement means that every year, more people are able to qualify for expungement and move forward productively with their lives.