Expanded “Clean Slate” Bill to Provide Second Chances for More Pennsylvanians Passes State Legislature With Bipartisan Support

December 14, 2023

Lt. Gov. Austin Davis Worked with Senate Colleagues to Streamline Expungement Process for Pardoned Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG – “Clean Slate” criminal justice reform legislation that includes language proposed by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis to streamline the process for pardoned Pennsylvanians to clear their criminal records has passed the state Senate and is heading to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk for his signature. Shapiro plans to sign the bill.

“Most Pennsylvanians believe in the power of second chances for people who have worked hard to turn their lives around, make amends and now contribute positively to their communities,” said Davis, who chairs the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. “A pardon demonstrates that someone has done the work and earned that second chance. However, the current law requires someone who has received a pardon to take additional steps to expunge their criminal record. With passage of ‘Clean Slate’ legislation, we can now rectify this situation. I applaud the House and Senate for their bipartisan support of this bill, and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to sign it as the Senate’s presiding officer.”

As a state representative, Davis sponsored a bill to provide automatic expungement for pardoned individuals, and he collaborated with Senate Judiciary Chair Lisa Baker on an amendment to House Bill 689, which is sponsored by House Appropriations Chair Jordan Harris.

Automatic expungement language in the legislation requires the Board of Pardons to send notifications to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts for each individual who has been granted a pardon. The courts administrator then will notify the relevant court of common pleas, which will order the pardoned individual’s criminal history record information to be expunged.

As part of the Shapiro-Davis Administration’s commitment to making Pennsylvania a place for second chances, Lt. Gov. Davis is working to improve the clemency process in additional ways.

  • In July, the Board of Pardons expanded its “expedited review” process for pardon applicants to make it more efficient, providing applicants with a clear and transparent process to follow.
  • The state budget invests $355,000 into a dedicated clemency unit within the Department of Corrections to address the backlog of applications for pardons and commutations.

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