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A Clean Slate: Local lawmakers react to Governor Hochul’s signing of measure that seals certain criminal records

Published on November 17, 2023

Hochul Clean Slate

ALBANY, NY- The Clean Slate Act – it has drawn praise and support from Governor Kathy Hochul and several other officials statewide.

Its aim is to seal certain criminal records, while also allowing individuals to seek employment, housing, and educational opportunities so they can improve their lives.

Records of individuals with eligible misdemeanor convictions will be sealed after three years and those with certain felony convictions, after eight years, following their release from incarceration.

Effective one year from now, the law provides the New York State Office of Court Administration up to three years to implement the processes necessary to identify and seal all eligible records.

“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,” Governor Hochul said.

With the support for this new law pouring in from her Democratic colleagues, it appears there are several lawmakers and officials on the other side of the isle who are showing no hesitancy with their displeasure.

“Gone are the days when criminals were held accountable for their actions; it seems that in the eyes of New York Democrats, criminals now garner more sympathy than their victims,” said New York State Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush.

“I believe in forgiveness and second chances but I don't believe in forgetting criminal behavior and putting the rights of convicts ahead of innocent victims,” said New York State Senator Mark Walczyk.

Several other outcries are emerging from other North Country officials as well.

New York will become the 12th state in the nation to sign Clean Slate legislation, joining states like Utah, South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

According to the Governor’s Office, a study from the libertarian Cato Institute found that following Michigan’s passage of record expungement legislation, individuals with expunged records posed a lower crime risk than the general statewide population; the same study found that the reconviction rate for violent crimes was less than 1-percent.

Governor Hochul image.

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