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'Clean Slate Act' signed into law to help non-violent offenders

The Clean Slate Act would permit those with relatively minor non-violent, non-sexual offenses to petition for sealing of their public records.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Governor Brad Little signed the 'Clean Slate Act' into law Wednesday, the sponsor of the bill announced via Twitter.

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, posted on social media that Little had signed the act, which would allow low-level offenders to petition the court for the sealing of their records if they have not committed a crime in the last five years.

The act would only apply to someone with a misdemeanor that is not an assaultive or violent misdemeanor -- meaning stalking, sexual battery, domestic violence, assault, etc.

"Spread the word to anyone you know with minor nonviolent offenses on their record that are limiting their life opportunities," Rubel wrote.

The act doesn’t work as a pardon or full cleanse of records -- it simply removes a conviction or record from public view, promoting the idea of people with a minor conviction still being able to obtain a job or housing.  

Rubel said she worked with major stakeholders to create a list of minor offenses that would qualify for this one-time opportunity. She added that the prosecutors wanted the list of offenses that would qualify to be very short.

"So to be clear, this is not for rapists and murderers. This is for the offenses like one-time, low-level marijuana possession. At most, really, some of it is like littering, passing a school bus," Rubel said in a former interview.

The court would have to hold a hearing on the petition in order to find that the person has complied to the restrictions within the act in order to have their records sealed.

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