New York State Signs Legislation To Seal Criminal Records
Some are calling it a landmark piece of legislation, and it was signed Thursday morning in Brooklyn. Do you believe in second chances?
New York state became the 12th state to sign legislation that could potentially give many ex-felons a second chance in the work force and the community. Could this possibly fill many much needs jobs, with so many industries within the state feeling the burden of staffing shortages?
Governor Kathy Hochul said that there are over four-hundred and fifty thousand open jobs currently in New York state.
New York State Signs Clean Slate Act Into Law
The New York Post says that the new law will seal "eligible misdemeanor records after three years", and a number felony records after eight years after their sentence is complete as long as the person maintains a clean record.
The bill will not include the more serious crimes like murder, sex crimes and most class A felonies, except those related to drug possession, says ABC NY. The Post adds other felonies such as; terrorism, arson and kidnapping to the crimes not included
Hochul said, "the best crime-fighting tool is a good-paying job. That's why I support giving New Yorkers a clean slate after they've paid their debt to society and gone years without an additional offense."
There are many stipulations, such as allowing "access to or the release of sealed records to limited entities", like "courts and prosecutors during new criminal cases, law enforcement officers within the scope of an investigation, entities mandated by state or federal law to conduct fingerprint-based background checks", says Forbes.
Forbes adds that this will allow both New York state and federal officials to do fingerprinting background checks and licensing officers processing firearm license applications.
Some in law enforcement, as well as politicians like Republican Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin have criticized the bill.
Another critic is New York Senator Mark Walczyk, who said "the Governor sent a press release where she said: ‘keeping New Yorkers safe is my administration’s top priority.’ By signing the Clean Slate Act into law, that hollow statement stands as a two-faced lie."
New York joins other nearby states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut in passing the bill.
Ridiculous Laws in New York State
Gallery Credit: Dan McGuire