Dozens of child advocacy organizations have signed onto supporting a measure that would seal many criminal records in New York years after a person has completed their sentence.
The measure, known as the Clean Slate Act by supporters, is being weighed in the final weeks of the legislative session by state lawmakers.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie this month indicated the proposal could gain a vote in his chamber by June 8, when the legislative session is due to conclude.
Groups that include The Legal Aid Society - Juvenile Rights Project, Children's Law Center and Children’s Defense Fund-NY are backing the measure, pointing to the potential affect it could have on a person being able to gain employment or housing.
"Clean Slate will make a significant impact in our collective work to build communities where children, youth and families can thrive," the groups wrote in a letter sent this week to Gov. Kathy Hochul and top Democrats in the Legislature.
The proposal would seal criminal records after three years for misdemeanors and after seven years for felonies, not counting time in prison where probation and parole is completed and no charges are pending.
"The impacts of having a criminal record do not disappear after one generation; rather, they feed the cycle of poverty that continues to produce harmful, unjust and inequitable outcome," the groups wrote in the letter.
It's estimated about 2 million people would be affected by the measure if it is approved.
Opponents have contended the measure could make New York less safe. Republicans have cast the proposal as a pro-crime measure at odds with a separate push to make changes to other criminal justice law changes in recent years.
"I think it’s a very dangerous proposal, because there are some jobs out there that you want to know some peoples’ backgrounds," said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.