The long-stalled Clean Slate Act passed in the New York Senate and Assembly late Friday. The bill will automatically seal certain criminal records after a waiting period – three years for misdemeanors and eight for felonies. Sex crimes and most Class A felonies, such as murder and sex crimes will not be eligible for sealing.
The bill awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.
Cannabis Offenses Affected
When cannabis was decriminalized in New York in 2019 and legalized in 2021, over 300,000 convictions for small amounts of marijuana were cleared. Though the vast majority of some 9,000 felony marijuana convictions remain on offenders’ records long after they have served their sentences.
“Clean Slate offers a genuine second chance to individuals who have fully paid their debt to society, enabling them to restart their lives and become positive contributors to their communities. By passing Clean Slate, we affirm our belief in redemption and improve our society by providing formerly incarcerated individuals a better opportunity to enter the workforce and establish stable lives,” said Senate Majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who added that the bill is intended to prevent discrimination against formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and provide greater opportunities through increased job security and access to stable housing.
Business groups including big companies like JPMorgan Chase JPM and Verizon VZ endorsed the legislation, saying increasing the labor pool would boost the state’s economy and make New York more competitive.
“The Clean Slate Act is a great victory for racial and economic justice in New York State. Our state disproportionately imprisons people of color, and our research shows that New Yorkers with criminal records collectively lose $12.6 billion in earnings every year. By sealing criminal records, the Clean Slate Act would give millions of New Yorkers who are trying to rebuild their lives a better chance at jobs, college, and housing,” said Ames Grawert, senior counsel in the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie.
New York will become the 11th state to automatically seal criminal convictions upon adoption of the legislation.
See the full Clean Slate Bill HERE
Photo of advocates in Albany New York: Twitter
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.