2022 Important MA 2nd chance legislation
SEE ATTACHED FACT SHEETS AND ASK THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO FAVORABLY REPORT THE BILLS
H1763 S10372. An Act providing easier and greater access to record sealing (Rep. Malia, Sen. Friedman). Requires automatic sealing of records after the applicable waiting period by the Commissioner of Probation. The sealing process is now done manually. Each request must be mailed to the Commissioner, and there are backlogs. This bill would increase efficiency and help countless people unaware of their sealing rights to seal records, and who only learn about sealing records after they lost a chance at a job or other opportunity. It re-activates an earlier law to immediately seal any charge that ends in a not-guilty finding.
Adds a new chapter 276C to permit courts to issue certificates to persons with convictions and CWOF’s to remove statutory disqualifications for jobs or other opportunities, and to create a presumption that a person is suitable for employment, housing, or other opportunity listed in the certificate and remove any statutory disqualification based on the conviction or CWOF.
+ Waiting periods to seal records take at least 3 to 7 years which is too long to have no income or opportunities for success.
+ Unlike the sealing law which only helps those with Massachusetts records, people with federal or out-of-state cases are also eligible for certificates.
+ People who are incarcerated, on probation, or on parole are also eligible for certificates.
Also permits people with a certificate to seal convictions that are now never sealable.
Amends occupational licensing and anti-discrimination laws that now receive failing or low grades as to protections provided to people with state or federal convictions or juvenile adjudications. The bill would prohibit denials of jobs or licenses based on the fact of a conviction unless conviction has a direct bearing on and affects person’s fitness or ability to perform one or more primary duties that are necessarily related to the license or employment sought, or there is unreasonable risk to property or public safety. The decision maker must also do an individualized assessment based on set of factors, including: the public policy to promote jobs for people with convictions; type of work and job duties; youth or lack of maturity related to age of person at time of offense; time elapsed after offense; seriousness of offense; whether person did same job without incident after conviction; evidence of community contributions; training, education; sobriety, efforts at self-improvement, or other evidence of other good conduct; and if a person has a rehabilitation certificate, there is presumption of suitability.