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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Criminal Record Expungement Clinics Benefit 1 Million+ in CA

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023   

One year ago, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 731, a law that allows more than a million Californians to clear many old felony convictions from their records. Now, expungement clinics across the state are helping speed that process along. A clinic this Friday in San Francisco will help people start the paperwork to petition a judge.

Will Matthews, is spokesperson for the nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice, which is co-sponsoring the event.

"If you're a registered sex-offense offender, you're ineligible," he said. "But almost every other condition is eligible now to be sealed, as long as you have gone two years without any further contact with the justice system after fully completing your sentence."

Old convictions have thousands of consequences and can prevent people from renting an apartment, getting a job, applying for certain professional licenses, attending a child's field trip, and much more. Many legal aid groups offer help with record sealing, including the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Area Regional Re-entry Partnership, and Inland Counties Legal Services.

Saun Hough, partnerships manager with Californians for Safety and Justice, said helping people move on with their lives is a matter of public safety.

"So any time you have a population that is being locked out from the opportunity for economic empowerment, or from housing, or from pursuing the career of their choice, then what you're going to see is this destabilization of communities," Hough said.

The so-called Clean Slate law also allows the California Department of Justice to automatically seal certain arrests and misdemeanor and non-violent felonies.

Disclosure: Californians for Safety and Justice contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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