ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — While the end of the session was scheduled for yesterday, lawmakers are still working today. The Senate gaveled out last night around two-thirty a.m. but the Assembly will most likely be working into the later hours today.
There is one controversial bill still not resolved: the Clean Slate Act would automatically seal criminal records three years after sentencing for misdemeanors and seven years for felonies. This would not apply to sex crimes.
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages supports the proposed bill and says this measure would help those with a criminal record, who are often at a disadvantage when it comes to housing and employment opportunities. “Many of these people are not able to get their footing. They’ve been rehabilitated by the criminal justice system, they want to get back into society, but they have that burden of being in jail and prison and they can’t get a job,” she said.
However, some lawmakers say if this bill passes it provides no protection for victims or average law-abiding New Yorkers. In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt said this about Albany Democrats:
“They passed pro-criminal policies like “Clean Slate” while failing to seriously address their no-cash bail reform that has emboldened violent criminals. And they dramatically increased spending, leveraging our state’s future.”
There’s also the question of whether or not places like schools would have knowledge of a new hire’s criminal record. Advocate Marvin Mayfield explains, “I understand that concern and that is a tremendous concern of course, but there are mechanisms within this bill already… schools and any place that needs state licensure will be able to do so.”
And Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages says major companies like Verizon support this bill. “They say that there’s a workforce problem. They are not able to get enough people to go work into their business.” The bill will be taken up in the Assembly today, we’ll have the latest as to whether or not it passes.