On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a set of Clean Slate bills. HB 352, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters), and HB 753, sponsored by Rep. Justin Hicks (R-Lake St. Louis), would automate the expungement process for a number of non-violent criminal offenses, allowing those with a criminal record to have those past crimes not appear on occupational and housing background checks if that person goes a certain amount of time without reoffending. The crimes eligible for expungement would be limited to a maximum of three felonies and five misdemeanors, and no violent or other serious crimes would be eligible for expungement under the bills’ provisions. Additionally, under this bill, criminal courts would still have access to the prior offender’s criminal record even after expungement in order to allow stricter sentencing if the prior offender commits another crime in the future. During the hearing on Monday, Rep. Christofanelli described the bill as a measure that would encourage prior offenders to continue life with a clean record, as well as providing them with a path back to full citizenship after they demonstrate a willingness to put their criminal past behind them.
The MCC has testified in support of these proposals. The bill now awaits an executive session in which the Judiciary Committee will determine whether the bills pass.