In recent weeks, three more states — Colorado, Louisiana and Vermont — have enacted laws intended to make it easier for people with a criminal record to find and keep employment, or otherwise to regain rights and status. We are just now noting Wyoming’s amendment in March of more than a dozen occupational licensing laws, to impose new limits on how criminal record may be taken into consideration by licensing agencies.
In the first five months of 2018 alone, a total of 21 states have enacted legislation to improve opportunities for people with a criminal record, with more similar laws evidently on the way. States have enacted several different types of “second chance” laws this year.
On May 25, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law an expansion of the state’s expungement authority for both adult and juvenile offenders, reducing waiting periods and other eligibility criteria for qualifying felony and misdemeanor convictions. The new law also authorizes courts to expunge non-conviction records 12 months after the conclusion of the case, without need for a petition from the defendant, and without regard to the nature of the offense. This is the third time in recent years that Vermont has extended eligibility for expungement.