For supporters of automatically sealing criminal records in New York, millions of people with criminal convictions that are now years old would be able to secure housing and a job — potentially keeping them out of the criminal justice system for good. 

For opponents, the measure raises too many logistical and public safety question marks. 

Known as the Clean Slate Act by proponents, state lawmakers are entering the final stages this week of potentially getting the bill over the finish line after years of negotiations and false starts. 

A revised bill introduced on Monday evening would seal criminal records eight years after a person completes their sentence for a felony charge; three years for misdemeanor charges. 

"We don’t count anything before the votes happen, but I am cautiously optimistic we have reached an agreement between the parties," said state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, the main sponsor of the bill. 

The bill has not cleared the state Assembly in prior years. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a statement did not endorse the new measure, but added she would review it. 

Still, Myrie on Tuesday morning said the new bill was a sign the measure faces its best chance yet of full passage. The effects for people who have struggled after being incarcerated have been profound, he said. 

"This is going to open doors. And there’s nothing better than that," Myrie said. "There’s nothing better than giving someone opportunity."

In the Assembly, Democrat Eddie Gibbs was similarly confident the measure would pass for the first time in his chamber.

"We want to give them an opportunity to come home, get a clean slate, get a job, take care of your family, take care of your community, but more importantly stay out of prison," he said. 

Gibbs served time in prison himself, making him the first formerly incarcerated person to serve in the state Legislature. 

"For me, I didn’t need Clean Slate, I created my own clean slate," he said. "But for the other individuals who cannot do it, I’m confident we’ll get it across the board."

Supporters have pointed to the backing from the business community for the measure, arguing it would provide them people to fill vacant jobs. 

But Republicans are skeptical of the claims. They point to laws already on the books providng for records sealing as a judge's discretion. 

"I don’t buy this idea that there’s whole swath of people who can’t get a job simply because they were locked up in jail eight years ago," said Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt. 

And then there's the mood among voters, who have registered opposition in the past to criminal justice measures like ending cash bail requirements for many criminal charges. After a close general election last year that hinged in part on public safety, Gov. Kathy Hochul and lawmakers in May agreed to make changes that narrowed the scope of the cashless bail law. 

Sealing criminal records, opponents argue, goes against what voters have signaled is a concern for them in the wake of the pandemic. 

"We really need to focus on public safety," said Republican Assemblyman Matt Slater, "but I don’t think this bill is going to convince New Yorkers that public safety is a priority for the state Legislature this year."