Gov. Kemp signs ‘second chance’ expungement bill into law for ex-offenders



By David Bass


For many Georgians, past criminal conviction can be the most significant hurdle to overcome in getting a job. On this front, there is good news: Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed a bill (SB288) into law that allows formerly incarcerated individuals to petition the court to have certain misdemeanor convictions erased from their record four years after the completion of their sentence. 


The new law excludes certain offenses, including sexual offenses and DUIs. In a crucial move, the law also creates incentives for employers to make “second chance” hires.


This new law allows for an easier transition back into the workforce for a segment of Georgia’s population that has paid its debt to society and stayed on the straight and narrow.


“This new law is monumental because it takes Georgia off the list of only a handful of states where a criminal offense stays on an ex-offender’s record perpetually,” said Buzz Brockway, vice president of policy at Georgia Center for Opportunity. “We know that unemployment is a key way to help ex-offenders not repeat their crimes. Particularly in the COVID-19 era, breaking down any barriers to employment that we can is always a huge win. We applaud Gov. Kemp and the Georgia Legislature for making this law a reality.”


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