A bill under consideration in Harrisburg would give more of the state's ex-offenders a clean slate and a needed second chance to become productive citizens.
Expected to be brought to a vote early next year, the bill would allow records of convictions for low-level offenses - such as shoplifting, check fraud, drug possession, and other nonviolent misdemeanors - to be expunged.
The measure would allow a judge to expunge records of third-degree convictions for those who have gone arrest-free for at least seven years. Second-degree offenses committed by those under 25 could be expunged after 10 years without an arrest. While some advocates want lawmakers to go further by removing that age restriction - a potential weakness in the bill - it would still be a welcome and significant step in the right direction.