Automatic expungement bill advances, but fiscal hurdles loom ahead

Published: May 31, 2022

By: Alex Tirado

Rep. Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans, sponsored a new law that will limit the release of mug shots in Louisiana. (Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator)

A Louisiana Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that would provide for the automatic expungement of qualifying criminal records, but lawmakers raised concerns about the long-term expense to taxpayers if applicants no longer have to pay to clear their names.

The Senate Judiciary C Committee advanced House Bill 707, authored by Rep. Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans, would automatically expunge records of arrests, misdemeanors and felonies in certain circumstances. Individuals convicted of felonies must wait a decade after completing their sentences before receiving an expungement, while those convicted of crimes of violence and sex offenses are not entitled to expungement.

Setting up the new system would cost the state $3 million in the first year. The bill’s fiscal note also estimated a cost of $1 million per year for implementation because of the involvement of multiple government entities and the increased workload associated with processing some 2.5 million records.

The cost could still derail the bill. Sen. Bodi White, R-Baton Rouge, expressed concerns about the cost. He chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, which also will consider the bill.

Read more at Louisiana Illuminator

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