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Minnesota alters route to clean criminal slate

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota judges now have greater ability to permanently seal criminal records of those who have fulfilled punishment and are trying to turn their lives around.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation Wednesday changing laws dictating how record expungements are done. It would wall off certain arrest or court records for successful petitioners, leaving them out of background checks. Backers say old crimes can forever hinder past offenders seeking jobs or housing.

Business screening services would have to delete records that are sealed or expunged. Prosecutors and law enforcement would still have access for investigations, prosecutions or sentencing in new crimes.

In signing the bill, Dayton implored employers ''to get beyond this one strike and you're out forever approach.''

The new law still deems some crimes too severe for expungement.

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