HB21-1214, with strong bipartisan support, was signed into law on July 6th, throwing open the doors of opportunity for thousands of Coloradans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2021
Denver, CO — Clean Slate Colorado, an effort led by criminal justice reform advocates, faith leaders, grassroots organizations, and directly-impacted individuals and families, celebrates the passage of HB21-1214 – Record Sealing Collateral Consequences Reduction.
This law, championed by Representatives Mike Weissman and Jennifer Bacon and Senators Pete Lee and James Coleman, represents an important step in the statewide effort to advance real second chances for millions of Coloradans, helping pave the way for comprehensive Clean Slate reform.
Melanie Kesner, Public Policy Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado says, “This is a significant victory and helps pave the way to full clean slate reform. Everyone deserves a second chance and the ability to provide for their families.”
HB21-1214 increases eligibility requirements and removes barriers to record sealing by:
- Allowing for the sealing of multiple eligible records for some eligible crimes
- Establishing an automatic process for the sealing of most arrest records where no charges are filed as well as for some drug conviction records
- Creating a website where individuals can confidentially determine if their conviction has been sealed
- Allowing the state public defender and the office of alternate defense counsel to seek and accept funding for the purposes of representing defendants in record sealing proceedings.
According to Jack Regenbogen, Senior Attorney at Colorado Center on Law and Policy, those process improvements are crucial to ensuring positive impact for Coloradans: “Whether or not a person is convicted of a crime, the presence of a record will often impede access to housing and employment. With the passage and signing of HB 1214, nearly two million Coloradans will have more opportunities to attain economic security for themselves and their families.”
The full impact of the law, however, will be experienced by families and individuals across the state. By reducing barriers to employment, housing, and economic security, HB21-1214 will improve community safety while growing Colorado’s economy, giving more families greater opportunity to move on with their lives and fully participate in society.
The Clean Slate Colorado movement celebrates Governor Polis signing this bill into law today as well as the greater freedom and opportunity the new law will bring to all Coloradans.
About Clean Slate Colorado
Clean Slate Colorado is a grassroots campaign backed by the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Progress Now Colorado, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, the ACLU of Colorado, Justice Reskill, Expunge Colorado, Stand for Children, the Colorado Poverty Law Clinic, Second Chance Center, and the national Clean Slate Initiative.
Following decades of criminalization and mass incarceration, nearly 2 million Coloradans have some type of criminal record—nearly half of all children in America have a parent with a record. In the digital era, with nearly 9 in 10 employers now using background checks, any criminal record—no matter how old or minor—can be a life sentence to poverty. Clean Slate Colorado is dedicated to advancing reforms that expand access and automate the clearing of arrest and conviction records that block second chances.