Nevada lawmakers consider sealing low-level pot convictions
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Law enforcement organizations on Tuesday expressed support for legislation that seeks to streamline the sealing of low-level marijuana convictions.
Democratic Assemblyman William McCurdy II told lawmakers the legislation would help people with those convictions gain employment, remove the stigma of a criminal past and clear the pathway to voting.
"The reward is allowing those folks, who have maybe made a (mistake) in the past, to move forward with their lives," he said at a hearing on the bill. The committee ended its meeting without a vote.
The bill also would permit a person to request a court seal criminal records tied to any offense that is decriminalized. It also says there should be no fee to seek the sealing of records.
Supporters say low-level marijuana convictions can currently be sealed, but the process is arduous and expensive.
Democratic Assemblyman Steve Yeager said there's a need for records to be sealed, recalling that he found 400 people waiting at a record-sealing clinic a year ago. Yeager said he and former state senator were only able to help two people during about eight hours at the clinic.
A representative for the Nevada District Attorneys Association spoke in support of the bill, along with a lobbyist for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Assemblyman Chris Edwards, a Republican, aired concerns that businesses will face an undue risk by not being able to see a person's past convictions.
"I don't know if we've put enough thought into all the consequences yet, and we may need to limit what you're trying to accomplish here," he said.
By RYAN TARINELLI Associated Press