PITTSBURGH, PA (May 22, 2018) Mayor William Peduto is expressing support for state legislation that will help workforce development in Pittsburgh and other cities by removing mandatory suspensions for non-driving citations and expunging records for non-violent, low-level convictions and non-convictions.
Suspended licenses make it more difficult for residents to travel to work, school and other essential destinations. Records on low-level offenders stay in public records for years, even if charges change or are dropped, and that information is often sold to employers. Changing state law in both matters would help many residents find work, rather than create barriers to employment.
Mayor Peduto wrote Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai in favor of Senate Bill 529 and House Bill 1419, which are the "Clean Slate" bills on expunging records.
"HB 1419 and SB 529 are not simply issues of justice. For many cities struggling to increase rates of employment, we must begin to address the barriers that formerly incarcerated people face and ensure that they have greater access to employment. For Pittsburgh, we see removing these barriers as essential to increasing our workforce and lifting people out of vulnerability. It is notable that these bills are supported by the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Chamber of commerce for Greater Philadelphia, the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry, and the Harrisburg Regional Chamber," the Mayor wrote.
The Mayor wrote the Senate Transportation Committee in support of House Bill 163, which would eliminate driver's license suspensions for drug-related crimes that are not related to vehicle usage.
"For those that have successfully served their time and are returning to society, we must remove any and all barriers to their success. Returning citizens who have difficulties getting a valid driver's license or identification card will also have difficulties getting stable housing and employment. Obtaining these things have proven to reduce recidivism and reliance on public assistance programs," he wrote.