Clean Slate and Fresh State Act being discussed in U.S House

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Many people in the United States have criminal records that go back a long time and they have not committed any crimes for a long time. If it’s not that, many people also have felony drug possession charges for small amounts of pot.

This can sometimes get in the way of them getting jobs, or if they have jobs, it is hard for them to advance. Lawmakers in the U.S. House have been discussing a pair of bills to that would essentially wipe the slate clean for thousands of people who qualify.

The Clean Slate Act is a bill that would automatically seal the criminal records of people arrested for small amounts of pot. That means employers would not be able to see those convictions on a background check.

The Fresh Start Act is another bill that provides funding to states to help them expunge the records of people convicted of low-level cannabis possession.

Both bills are ardently supported by Democrats, but also have cautious support from some Republicans.

“We need to be able to restore some constitutional rights, to be able have a second chance in life,” said Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5th). “I think it’s a big problem because now the federal government is not very responsive to the state governments.”

Spartz said she believes that punishments should fit the crime. However, she has a word of caution that that should not mean that law enforcement or the government should let people get away with bad behavior.

“It is not a joke what is happening right now (with crime),” she said. “We have real lives at stake of a lot of people. There’s people that are in the system and then people get affected by criminals and when we are dealing with people’s lives we have to take it seriously.”

Spartz mentioned to her colleagues that Indianapolis has a higher crime rate per capita than Chicago and that the federal government cannot afford to be too loose with the reins regarding crime.

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