Hochul | The Fox News
Their records for convicted felons in New York will now be sealed after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the “Clean State Act” on Thursday.
The controversial proposal would seal an old one criminal records while the perpetrators stay in trouble for many years.
Under the new New York law, a person’s criminal records would be sealed eight years after a conviction or release from prison; three years for misconduct.
Sex crimes and most Class A crimes, such as kidnapping or terrorism, will not qualify for the program. The bill excludes class A felony drug possession.
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When the controversial law was signed, Gov. Hochul praised the program for its ability to fight against an increase in crime.
“A well-paying job is the best crime-fighting tool,” Hochul said at the Brooklyn Museum Thursday morning. “That’s why I support giving New Yorkers a clean slate after they pay their debt to society and go years without additional crime.”
Melinda Agnew with the Center for an Alternative Community said the legislation will change lives.
“Twenty-six years after successfully completing my sentence, despite my accomplishments, doors are still closed in my face,” Agnew said.
The law, which takes effect in a year, will still allow law enforcement, prosecutors, the Department of Education, the courts and others access to offender records.
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“I made a compromise that protects public safety and promotes economic opportunity, and the Clean Slate Act will finally help New Yorkers access jobs and housing while allowing police, prosecutors and school officials to protect their communities,” said Hochul.
The governor said that the law hopes to address the lack of workers that plagues New York.
“And because our state has a labor shortage, with more than 450,000 job openings right now, this new law will help businesses find more workers to help them grow, expand and succeed,” Hochul said .
The bill was approved by state lawmakers last June on a party-line vote.
New York’s former Democratic Governor, David Paterson, has rejected the law, saying that while he thinks the “intent” was positive, he thinks the measure is wrong.
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“In theory, it works. But one of the problems we have in the state right now is that people are arrested 40, 50, 60 times. When that kind of thing happens, it can’t be a clean slate because they never were. more than six months away from their previous conviction,” he said on WABC 770 AM’s “Cats Roundtable” radio show in June.
The Gov’s office did not respond. Hochul immediately returned Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Yael Halon contributed to this report.