Arkansas bill would automatically seal some criminal records

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas lawmaker is proposing that some non-violent offenders be allowed to have their criminal records automatically sealed, a move backed by a coalition that says it would give people a second chance after serving their sentence.

The proposal filed Thursday by Republican Rep. Justin Boyd would allow a person who committed a non-violent offense to have their record automatically removed from a relevant state agency database. The offender would have to have completed their probation and sentence for a felony or wait five years after their conviction for a misdemeanor.

Boyd announced the legislation with a coalition of groups backing the proposal, including the conservative Americans for Prosperity-Arkansas, DecARcerate, the Central Arkansas ReEntry Coalition and the Exodus Project. A spokesman says Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is studying the bill.

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