SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will consider legislation that would wipe the low-level criminal records of about 2 million people going back decades, part of a lawmaker's second attempt to remove barriers to finding work or housing. 

The measure is part of a provision that was removed from a bill approved last year that would expunge records of certain arrests and crimes starting in 2021. 

Its author, Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat, proposed the new bill, AB 2978, on Monday with the backing of district attorneys from San Francisco and San Joaquin County.

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“For me this is about fairness,” said Ting. “While I’m grateful my law from last year will help those arrested after Jan. 1, 2021, millions of Californians today are still living in a paper prison. Their records prevent them from getting jobs or housing. Let’s give people with past convictions the same clean slate that individuals in the future will be entitled to. Everybody deserves a second chance.”

According to a news release from Assemblyman Ting's office, 8 million people are living with past records that can lead to legal restrictions on jobs, housing, and other opportunities.

“Millions of Californians who have completed their sentence, paid their debt, and remained crime-free for years still have old, stale convictions on their record,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. ‘This leads to thousands of legal restrictions that block people from employment, housing, education, and other critical opportunities. These restrictions undermine public safety and the economic viability of communities across California. We must mean what we say when we call someone rehabilitated and stop denying their ability to earn stability and move forward in their lives.”

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