Bipartisan bill aimed at expunging juvenile criminal records vetoed by DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe CDC's Title 42 order fuels racism and undermines public health Chicago sues police union over refusal to comply with vaccine mandate Crist says as Florida governor he would legalize marijuana, expunge criminal records MORE (R) vetoed a bill on Tuesday that would have given juveniles an opportunity to have their criminal records erased after successfully completing a behavioral program.

The bill would have allowed minors with criminal records of any offense to have their arrest records expunged if they participated in a diversion program, according to the Tampa Bay Times. However, discretion would ultimately be left up to the law enforcement officer who came in contact with the juvenile or the state attorney handling their case. 

The legislation, if it had passed, would have affected more than 27,000 juveniles with criminal records. 

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Currently, only juvenile misdemeanors are allowed to be expunged in Florida. 

The bill passed with nearly unanimous support in both the GOP-led state House and Senate. However, DeSantis cited the bill’s "negative impacts on public safety."

“SB 274 proposes to allow the expunction of a juvenile’s non-judicial arrest record following the completion of a diversion program for any offense, including a felony,” DeSantis wrote. “I have concerns that the unfettered ability to expunge serious felonies, including sexual battery, from a juvenile’s record may have negative impacts on public safety.”

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the veto on the bipartisan bill shocked lawmakers.

“I am, frankly, dumbfounded. ... I don’t understand why you wouldn’t give an opportunity to a kid to remake their life,” said state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D), a co-sponsor of the bill, according to the Tampa Bay Times.