TRENTON – Bill A206 for the expungement of criminal records will not see its second reading in the State Senate this afternoon as scheduled. With too few Democratic senators in attendance, the bill have to fight again another day.
The bill would allow for automatic expungement for qualifying offenders after seven years, rather than ten.
Citing the need for non-violent and non-felony offenders to stop being “prisoners to their record,” Senator Shirley Turner (D-15) said of the delay that “[the] reason it’s being held is that we only have 18 Democratic members.”
“Like so many things in this state, I believe that people deserve a second chance,” said Turner, adding her opinion that her Republican colleagues do not serve the constituencies that would stand to benefit the most from the bill.
The bill would apply to those who have served out the terms of their sentence, and excludes major felonies such as homicide, kidnapping, arson and others. The bill would also deny automatic expungement to those convicted while serving in public office in New Jersey.
The deferral marks another set-back for proposed changes to re-entry policies for former offenders following uneven support for former Governor Jim McGreevey’s proposal to open a center for recent parolees in Jersey City.