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Minnesota Officials Debate When to Clear Crime Slates

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s willingness to forgive people with criminal pasts is emerging as a hot topic for state legislators, who are mulling revisions to laws designed to give low-level offenders a clean slate.

In a preview of the debate Monday, a special House-Senate working group struggled to reach consensus on what types of crimes should be eligible for an expungement process and whether the underlying records would truly get wiped away.

The discussion is driven in part by two recent Minnesota Supreme Court rulings that narrowed the judicial branch’s jurisdiction in those petitions. And it is also spurred on by arguments that long-ago infractions shouldn’t impair employment and housing searches for years to come.

One dividing line is whether a revised process should pertain to misdemeanors only or also include some felonies.

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