Post-budget talk among legislators in Albany has hit the ground. And legislators are looking to clean the floor behind them.
The Clean Slate Act is a bill that addresses the desire to amend criminal procedural law related to the automatic sealing of certain convictions. The legislation would end the prejudice and punishment ex-convicts face after serving time, such as being denied the ability to collect public benefits or being rejected for apartments and jobs.
In a statement, the Clean Slate NY coalition (consisting of groups, advocates, and businesses) said, “We applaud the Senate Codes Committee and Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for advancing the Clean Slate Act on the first day of session post-budget, marking immediate momentum for the bill. This historic legislation would end the perpetual punishment that over 2 million New Yorkers face due to a prior conviction. With overwhelming support across the state, now is the time to break cycles of intergenerational poverty and allow all New Yorkers to contribute to their communities. We look forward to the bill’s passage this session to bring relief to New Yorkers who have been excluded from economic opportunity, stable housing, and higher education for far too long.”
The Clean Slate Act has received support from different spectrums of the five boroughs. JP Morgan Chase, Verizon, and the New York State Bar Association have joined forces with DC37, 1199 SEIU, Local 338 RWDSU, UFCW and Riverside Church and Trinity Wall Street Church.
Under the Clean Slate Act (S.1553C/A.6399B), introduced by State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Catalina Cru, “New Yorkers will be eligible to have conviction records automatically sealed 3 years from sentencing for misdemeanors and 7 years from sentencing for felonies, not including time incarcerated. These timeframes are carefully calibrated to allow people with conviction records to move forward with their lives and access jobs, housing, and higher education. To be eligible for automatic sealing relief, individuals must have completed probation, parole or post-release supervision, and cannot have incurred any new convictions or pending charges during the three or seven year waiting period. Sex offenses are not eligible for sealing.”
Myrie said that it’s not a coincidence that this type of legislation has made it to the State Senate. It’s something that everyone can agree with.
“Clean Slate has brought together the largest coalition of supporters for a criminal justice reform bill in New York State history: advocates and local governments, labor unions and corporate leaders, faith leaders and nine out of ten New Yorkers who agree people with conviction records should have a fair shot at employment and housing,” stated Myrie. “By advancing this bill, the Senate took a huge step toward safer, stronger and more stable communities and helping over 2 million New Yorkers who agree people with conviction records should have a fair shot at employment and housing.”