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Group recognizes Utah lawmakers for backing ‘Clean Slate’ bill

SHARE Group recognizes Utah lawmakers for backing ‘Clean Slate’ bill
A Utah lawmaker wants drivers to put down their phones while driving. If passed, her bill could assess a driver a $100 fine if they get caught talking with the receiver in their hand.

Americans For Prosperity Utah is sending out mailers as part of a national campaign urging voters to thank their state lawmakers for backing “Clean Slate” legislation that automatically expunges records of minor criminal offenses.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Americans for Prosperity Utah is sending out mailers as part of a national campaign urging voters to thank their state lawmakers for backing "Clean Slate" legislation that automatically expunges records of minor criminal offenses.

HB431, sponsored by Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, unanimously passed both the House and Senate last session with wide-ranging community support and was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert.

Heather Williamson, the group's Utah state director, praised the legislation.

"A criminal record is a significant barrier for folks who are trying to productively re-enter society," she said, adding the organization is "thanking our lawmakers for coming together and opening doors for Utahns who've earned a fresh start."

Williamson said the mailers are going out in nine House and Senate districts around the state where lawmakers have pushed "other great bills on criminal justice reform."

Eight of the districts where voters are receiving mailers are represented by Republicans, including Hutchings. Rep. Stephanie Pitcher, D-Salt Lake City, is the only Democrat on the list.

There was already an expungement process in place in Utah for people who remain crime-free for designated periods of time, but it could take a long time and become expensive and was seen as intimidating.

Utah follows Pennsylvania in adopting legislation that shifts the burden for expunging records for some low-level, non-violent crimes from the person convicted to the state.

The Utah mailers are part of a 10-state effort marking April as "Second Chance Month" and state that HB431 is "ensuring our justice system is smart on crime and soft on taxpayers."

Criminal justice reform is a key issue for Americans For Prosperity, a national conservative network founded by Charles and David Koch, billionaire brothers influential in Republican politics.