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Wisconsin lawmakers propose a bill to alter expungement process

WISCONSIN (WAOW) — A newly proposed bill would help those with past arrests or convictions seek jobs and other opportunities.

A recent study shows arrests and conviction records have lingering effects, making it harder for individuals to succeed after serving their sentence. Assembly Bill 33 would clarify and broaden Wisconsin’s current expungement law.

“We believe that this process is going to be much easier for everybody involved,” said Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee).

A 27-year-old man who spent a decade trying to get back into the work force is the reason this bill started, according to Lead author of the bill, Representative David Steffen of Green Bay. “He said ‘my 6 months of probation ended up being a life sentence,” said Representative David Steffen (R-Green Bay).

The Wisconsin Policy Forum said the bill would make more than 80,000 cases eligible for expungement, if it passes.

“At the end of the day this legislation is about trying to get people out of dependence of their families, out of dependence of government programs, and allowing them to move forward with their life,” said Rep. Steffen.

Right now, if someone wants their low-level offense expunged, they have to ask for it at sentencing. With this bill, the offender will have to complete their sentence, probation and pay off any fines to better show their progress.

The bill would also clarify that employees do not need to disclose expunged arrests or convictions on job applications.

As for the next steps of the bill, lawmakers say they are hopeful but still need approval by the senate in order for it to land on the Governors desk.

Amanda Lojewski

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