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Hawley, Borrello criticize new law that seals criminal records

By Howard B. Owens

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, C -Batavia) recently criticized the Clean Slate Act, a proposal that would seal the criminal records of recently released convicts. This week, the measure was signed into law by Gov. Hochul. Supporters of the bill argue this will help incarcerated individuals get jobs after they’ve served their time and combat racial bias in the state’s criminal justice system. Critics, however, have said this will make it virtually impossible for employers, landlords and other business owners to fully vet their incoming employees and tenants. Hawley is frustrated because reckless policies like the Clean Slate Act are giving criminals a free pass and making communities less safe.

“This is yet another example of the Majority in Albany imposing their radical ideology on everyday New Yorkers,” said Hawley. “We live in a country where criminals are treated like victims, and the people who are hurt by these crimes are put to the side. Public safety is not something we can afford to mess around with. We need to return to a system where we respect the rule of law and hold criminals accountable for their actions.”

Press release from Sen. George Borrello:

“Governor Hochul’s signing today of the Clean Slate Act is more confirmation that catering to criminals and the radical wing of her party is more important than the safety and concerns of New Yorkers who have repeatedly cited rising crime as the state’s number one problem.    

This misguided law will allow criminals – even serial offenders -- to have their records automatically sealed after a specified time period. Serious crimes like manslaughter, armed robbery, domestic violence, and arson are among the crimes that will be hidden from employers and landlords, placing countless unsuspecting individuals in harm’s way. 

There already exists a process for sealing criminal records that has reasonable safeguards to assure that the individuals in question don’t pose a public safety risk. Yet, like with all the criminal justice reforms passed in recent years by Albany Democrats, reasonable policies and reforms have been rejected and replaced with reckless versions.

This law is another slap in the face to New Yorkers who are watching their safety and quality of life rapidly erode.”

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