August 28, 2023
California’s final budget has significantly impacted the state’s newest Clean Slate initiative. The effective date of Senate Bill 731 (SB 731) has moved to July 1, 2024. When it takes effect, it will carry the most stringent Clean Slate provisions of any law in the country. This bill will significantly impact employers and job seekers who have prepared for how the hiring process would address criminal records.
This delay provides more time to address the expected increase of records eligible for expungement under SB 731. According to the bill, courts must process automatic expungements for many individuals after a specified waiting period. The state courts have begun processing these expungements and will benefit from this delay as they address the influx of eligible records. In addition, many courts have proven ill-equipped to handle this process.
The Bill’s Effects
This bill extends automatic expungements to misdemeanors, non-violent felonies, and non-sexual offenses. These expungements also include records concerning incarceration. According to SB 731, individuals become eligible for automatic expungements after completing their sentence. However, they must also avoid further trouble during this waiting period.
This automation removes the need for justice-impacted individuals to petition a court for an expungement and pay the associated fees. As such, many expect it will significantly increase the number of individuals who can benefit from these expungements. According to SB 731, it would eliminate the time-consuming challenges and potentially considerable costs.
Why Push It Back
By pushing the effective date of SB 731 back until July 1, 2024, the court systems will have time to update. This update would allow the courts to accurately and effectively process automatic expungements. Furthermore, the delay allows more time for employers to adjust their hiring policies for future compliance, such as incorporating fair chance hiring policies.
According to HR.com, 94% of employers perform a criminal background check. As such, these employers should consider fair chance policies to provide all applicants with an opportunity for gainful employment. Removing the barriers these individuals face in finding work makes it fair and can greatly help the state’s economy by boosting its GDP by an estimated $20 billion.
As employers prepare their fair chance hiring policies, they should consider how their process addresses criminal records. The best way to get started is to work with an experienced screening provider who can help explain how these programs work. Furthermore, the right partner can advise how to implement fair chance hiring policies in a given workplace.