Testifying to give Workers a Clean Slate

Testifying to give Workers a Clean Slate


Legislative sessions can be tough, and we can feel like we’re always on the defense and fighting to keep what we have. In reality, we’re always fighting together—that’s the power of our coalition and coming together. Today, I have the honor of testifying in favor of Clean Slate legislation, HB 2108 & HB 2555. These bills will give workers who have been formerly incarcerated, and more than served their time, a fair shot and a clean slate to reach their full potential.

Below is my full testimony. I encourage you to learn more and take action with our partners, Empower Missouri at https://www.mocleanslate.org/ 

Missouri Jobs with Justice Voter Action is a statewide organization committed to building an economy and a democracy that works for all of us. We work with faith leaders, students, union members, and everyday Missourians—Black, Brown, and White—to build a state where we can all thrive. We work to build workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities where each of us has what we need for a safe and healthy life, from cradle to grave.

As an organization committed to economic security, Clean Slate legislation (HB2108 and HB2555) makes sense, and we urge the passage of this bill.

Everyone should have an opportunity to work, have a safe home, take care of their families, and contribute to their community. Today, more than 1.9 million Missourians from all walks of life face barriers to jobs, education, housing, and other basic necessities because they have an arrest or conviction on their record.

These challenges impact every part of a person’s life. When our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and community members are barred from fully participating in society and our economy, we all lose out.

Criminal records should not be a life sentence. Current Missouri law recognizes that by allowing the expungement process. However, the current process is cumbersome and expensive, meaning only the richest and most connected of our neighbors are able to access expungement. Fewer than 1% of eligible people are able to access expungement, despite its life-changing potential.

No matter what we look like or where we are from, our needs are similar – we are all looking for a job that allows us to support our families. These bills would give about 500,000 Missourians a chance at that as well. Please consider and pass this Clean Slate legislation to give all workers a fair chance to reach their full potential.

Kay Mills, Missouri Jobs with Justice Voter Action