Business group backs erasing more minor crimes from records

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By SEANNA ADCOX

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina legislation expanding the crimes ex-cons can get erased from their criminal records has a seemingly unlikely backer – the state Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber CEO Ted Pitts says removing minor offenses such as drug possession has the two-fold benefit of improving people’s lives while helping businesses fill openings, since criminal records can prevent job applicants from being called in for an interview or even filling out an application.

A House committee voted 16-4 Tuesday on legislation expanding offenses eligible for expungement.

Currently, only a first minor offense can be erased.

The bill provides flexibility in expunging a later crime, in case it’s more problematic in a job search, and allows several related offenses to be grouped together. It also allows any first-time drug possession conviction to be removed.

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