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The fee can be as high as $150, but the East Bay Community Law Center, co-sponsor of the bill, found through public records requests that the average is about $100. Los Angeles County charges no fee and accounts for more than half of the roughly 6,000 such petitions filed each year.

Any fee can be an obstacle for many young people trying to make a new start, Skinner said.

“The record is like an albatross around their neck because it comes up every time they apply for a job, if you run a credit report,” she said.

California Probation Officers of California, the lone group opposing the bill, argues that existing law already lets those with financial problems petition to have the fee waived.

Skinner’s bill is awaiting final consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee before it can come up for a floor vote by the end of the month.

Leno also is carrying SB1296, which would prohibit judges from jailing youths who violate a court order that they attend school or are found to be in contempt of court for skipping school. Only four of California’s 58 counties still incarcerate youth for those reasons, Leno said.

“They’ll miss more school, they’ll fall further behind in their studies, they’re more likely to fail,” he said.

Morrell joined Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, as the only two senators voting “no” on SB1296, while nine Republicans were among the 30 votes in favor. Morrell said judges should have the discretion to jail truant youths in the most extreme cases, where “they completely have defied the court.”

The bill is now awaiting consideration in the Assembly.