SB 376, which passed the legislature with bipartisan support, ensures the sealing of arrest records that don’t lead to convictions on both state and local levels
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a victory for public safety advocates, SB 376 became law today, which would ensure that arrest records without convictions are sealed at both the state and local levels. The legislature passed the automatic sealing of some records in 2019 at the state level, but arrest records remained unsealed with local courts. SB 376 – sponsored by Sen. Danny Burgess (R-Pasco/Hillsborough) and Rep. Spencer Roach (R-North Fort Myers) – amends this 2019 law, while preserving access to records for law enforcement. This bill was supported by Florida crime survivors, including Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, which has 13,000 members in Florida.
“I worked for two sessions to get this policy passed and am proud of the public safety improvement this bill makes,” said Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills). “SB 376 gets more Floridians back to work and streamlines the process.”
Old arrest records often present barriers to employment and housing, even if they were never convicted of a crime. This undermines a person’s ability to work, provide for their families, and give back to their communities. SB 376 would allow people to maintain financial stability, contribute to the local economy, and ensure they remain out of cycles of crime. Ultimately, these approaches will improve safety and the economy for all Floridians.
Representative Spencer Roach (R-Fort Myers), the bill’s House Sponsor stated, “This is a jobs bill that will help our state’s economy and keep us safe. According to a report commissioned by the Alliance for Safety and Justice and Associated Industries of Florida,our current approach costs the state over $40 billion annually, hurting businesses and failing to utilize a population that is skilled and ready to work. Constituents, including crime survivors,came to our office asking us to do something about this and we listened. I am really proud of what we accomplished.”
“Today is a good day for all those working towards a safer Florida. SB 376 helps to stop cycles of crime by knocking down barriers to jobs, housing, and economic security for thousands of Floridians. Thanks to Sen. Burgess and Rep. Roach, more people will be contributing to the local economy and helping small businesses succeed by working stable jobs – all while improving safety. We look forward to continuing to work with our elected leaders as we make Florida safer,” said Subhash Kateel, Florida state director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice.”
“SB 376 builds upon a commonsense solution that will lift up the economy and strengthen our communities,” said Pastor Jearlyn Dennie, crime survivor and member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Crime survivors understand that old records can often serve as obstacles for those trying to make a living and keep their lives on track. Thanks to this law, we reduce the chances that someone will fall into cycles of victimization and it will make us all safer in our own communities.”
“We believe that businesses, both large and small across the state will benefit from this law,” said Brewster Beavis, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, “and that will strengthen Florida’s economy while improving public safety.”
The full bill can be read here.
About Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a national network of over 100,000 diverse crime victims with 13,000 members in Florida that advocates for policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence. For more information, visit: https://cssj.org.