A bill that would seal many criminal records in New York has advanced through a key committee in the state Senate on Tuesday, but its fate this session in Albany remains up in the air.
Lawmakers on the state Senate Codes Committee approved the measure, known by its supporters as the Clean Slate Act, a move that sets the proposal up for final passage in the state Senate.
But this year, the measure continues to face an uncertain future. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who backed the proposal in her State of the State address a year ago, has not publicly mentioned the bill this year as she focuses on measures meant to change New York's law that ending cash bail for many criminal charges.
Supporters have argued that sealing criminal records would help New Yorkers obtain jobs and housing after their release. It has the backing of business organizations as well as labor unions and local governments.
“Today’s passage out of the Senate Code’s Committee represents early momentum for the Clean Slate Act. We applaud the State Senate and Codes’ Chair, Senator Jamaal Bailey, for advancing this important economic and racial justice bill that will help businesses across New York hire employees, boost our state’s economic growth, allow people to support their families, and increase community safety," said Clean Slate NY, a coalition of groups backing the law. "With backing from Fortune 500 companies, business groups, labor unions, community-based organizations, and local legislatures, we urge New York’s legislature and Governor Hochul to move with urgency and pass the Clean Slate Act pre-budget.”
But opponents have questioned whether the measure provides enough safeguards against dangerous people from working in schools or other settings with kids.