Editorial: Bill would hinder public’s right to know

The Durango Herald: A bill motivated by good intentions that will cause serious damage to governmental transparency is wending its way through the state House of Representatives.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman of Aurora, House Bill 21-1214 would allow the sealing of records of low-level crimes. It also would allow some convicted criminals with multiple offenses – habitual offenders – to petition to have their records sealed after fulfilling their sentences. It would automatically seal arrest records when no charges are filed. And more.

The good intention behind this bill is to help those who have been arrested but never charged and those convicted of lesser offenses get on with their lives without the onus of past bad behavior or accusations of bad behavior preventing them from doing so. Understandably, it can be difficult for such people to secure employment and housing and to reintegrate into society. Likewise, because our justice system has long discriminated against people of color, those marginalized groups tend to suffer more in this regard.

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