Letter: Support North Carolina “Second Chance Act”
June 6, 2019
To: Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Support Senate Bill 562
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across North Carolina, I encourage you to pass the Second Chance Act, Senate Bill 562 (SB 562). This legislation would implement smart expungement reforms that will help former nonviolent offenders contribute to society – a win-win for communities, taxpayers, and government.
The bill removes barriers to economic opportunities for former offenders, allowing them to expunge nonviolent offenses from their records if they have gone 10 years or more with no new charges, and having paid all fines and completed sentencing.
The one-time fee of $175 is far more reasonable than the costly legal hurdles that people have to deal with now. This is also a win for taxpayers because it reduces the use of public assistance programs.
These reforms are conservative, they are the right thing to do, and they work. States, from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Utah, have passed similar measures.
A study from University of Michigan law school researchers found people’s wages went up by 20 percent on average one year after expunging their record, and that former offenders who have expunged their records very rarely break the law. Justice Department figures show that re-arrest for former nonviolent offenders is rare five or more years after release.
Yet, because of barriers – like cost and complexity – placed in front of people, very few pursue expungement of their record. SB 562 sensibly simplifies the process for people who have paid their debt to society.
People who have proven they have learned from their crimes should have the chance to leave that past behind, build new lives, and become full, contributing members of their communities. The opportunity to clear one’s record is an important incentive for people to avoid committing another crime later.
For these reasons, we urge you to vote in favor of SB 562. If you have any questions or ATR can be of assistance, please contact me, or Vice President of State Affairs Patrick Gleason at 202-785-0266.
Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform