GOVERNOR HOCHUL SIGNS THE CLEAN SLATE ACT INTO LAW
On Thursday, November 16, 2023, Governor Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act into law — changing the lives of millions of New Yorkers.
Clean Slate is about supporting our business community, making New York safer, fighting poverty, investing in re- entry, decreasing recidivism, and combating racial discrimination. Governor Hochul believes Clean Slate will spur our economy, make our communities and families safer, and allow New Yorkers to reach for their dreams — that’s why she signed it into law.
At a time when New York’s post-pandemic economy is surging, the Clean Slate Act will expand economic opportunity to thousands of New Yorkers. Every store, restaurant, and hotel has a “help wanted” sign in the window – and Clean Slate will help fill the 460,000 job openings in New York. That’s why economic powerhouses like the Partnership for New York City and the Business Council of New York are all in for Clean Slate!
Clean Slate is a common sense change that’s good for our business community, supports our families and communities, and makes New Yorkers safer.
It does so by giving certain individuals who had previously been involved in the criminal justice system the opportunity to fully access employment, housing, and education – once they’ve paid their debt to society – by sealing records for civil purposes. That’s why it has unprecedented support from across the state, including members of law enforcement, labor unions, faith-based groups, lawyers, local and county governments, health and recovery advocates, and more.
This is an exciting moment for New York – but we know the opposition will be vocal. That’s why it’s critical to remember what the Clean Slate Act does not do. The Clean Slate Act only applies to those who have paid their debt to society and successfully completed a waiting period without additional convictions. Sex offenses and non- drug Class A felonies, like murder, domestic terrorism, and other serious crimes are not eligible for sealing.
And, Clean Slate only seals records for civil purposes, meaning it doesn’t restrict law enforcement’s access to records. Law enforcement will always have access to the information it needs to keep New Yorkers safe. And courts will have access to the information, too, which allows them to see the past records when issuing orders of protection and keeping survivors of domestic violence safe.
With Governor Hochul’s action, she’s making New York the 12th state in the nation to enact clean slate legislation. It’s been passed in states with Republican leaders and Democratic leaders. Law enforcement, business leaders, and criminal justice advocates agree: The Clean Slate Act is right for New York.
New Yorkers need jobs and employers need workers. Clean Slate will help New York’s economy, and the state’s largest employers and labor unions support it.
- Shutting workers with old convictions out of the labor market costs as much as $87 billion in lost GDP annually. Those with a conviction record lose nearly $500,000 in earnings throughout their lifetime.
- New York’s economy as a whole loses out if we create barriers to The Brennan Center estimates that New York misses out on approximately $12.6 billion in lost wages every year due to reduced earnings related to a conviction record.
- A recent study found that within one year of clearing their records under a Michigan law, people are 11% more likely to be employed and earn 22% higher wages.
- Individuals who cleared their records under this Michigan law were less likely than members of the general public to commit crimes in the 5 years after clearance.