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Bill would protect juvenile records from distribution

Youths will no longer be haunted by their past, thanks to a bill that is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire on Thursday.

The bill bans private credit reporting agencies from selling a youth’s criminal records after he or she turns 21. The measure will also allow a youth who has received a pardon the chance to start over with a clean record. In addition, the bill will create a legislative task force to determine cost-effective ways to further protect juvenile record information.

“Kids’ lives were being ruined by their records,” said Mike Felton, a member of the Child & Youth Legislative Advocacy Clinic at the University of Washington. “The rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile system is contradicted when private companies sell kids’ records for a profit. It makes it harder for young people to start over with a new job and a place to live.”

The clinic helped lawmakers secure the bill’s passage.

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