State senators started today to mull over the possibility of working up legislation that would prevent businesses from having access to juvenile court records. If something like this were to become law, companies would not be able to take into account crimes the applicant may have committed in his or her younger days.
Supporters of the proposal, like Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, say the measure may help people with checkered pasts who in many cases must unfairly shoulder the burdens of mistakes made years ago.
"This bill gets at what it is we're really trying to address, which is emphasizing the rehabilitative nature of the system, not the punitive nature of it," Harper told The Olympian.
On the other side of the fence are prosecutors and newspapers who testified that the proposal would halt them from gaining access to the courts, especially since offenders can already seek to have their juvenile records sealed.
Tom McBridge, executive secretary for the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, spurned the notion that businesses put great weight on a juvenile crime when hiring someone years later.
"Is the solution to hide that information? It seems more healthy to deal with that than to push it away," McBridge said.
Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe agreed that businesses should have the right to know what kind of legal troubles prospective employees have had in the past.