ALBANY, NY (WENY)– Some advocates and lawmakers have been pushing for the Clean Slate Act for several years. As session comes to a close, they could see this bill finally pass.
“It gives people the opportunity to get back into the workforce, access economic mobility. To have access to housing and other social services that typically employers and providers will deny if they see a misdemeanor arrest or a felony conviction,” said Ken Oliver, Executive Director of Checkr Foundation.
For some advocates this bill is personal.
“My records will be sealed immediately because I have had these charges so many years ago. It would be such a weight lifted off of my chest,” said Takeasha Newton, criminal justice organizer.
The bill would provide the sealing of certain convictions after a certain passage of time. The bill excludes people with most Class A felonies.
The Governor said she would like to see this legislation pass before the end of session.
“I do want to get a version of Clean Slate that actually deals with the efforts to make sure that people have a second chance. I think that’s going to help with recidivism, I think it’s important for employers who are experiencing a severe shortage of workers,” Gov. Hochul said.
Lawmakers have opposing views on Clean Slate.
“When are we finally going to hold criminals accountable for their actions?” said Assembly Member Michael Tannousis (R-Assembly District 64).
While some Democratic lawmakers feel this legislation is important criminal justice reform.
“If you paid your debt to society and you have proven that you are doing fine, you should not have something hanging over you for a lifetime,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35th Senate District).
This bill is one of hundreds that could pass in the final hours of session.