November 16, 2023
Albany, NY

What They Are Saying: Governor Hochul Signs The Clean Slate Act

What They Are Saying: Governor Hochul Signs The Clean Slate Act

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed the Clean Slate Act (S.7551A/A.1029C), which seals certain criminal records and allows 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 today, 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.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “The millions of New Yorkers who have paid their dues and are ready to rebuild their lives deserve a second chance. The Clean Slate Act will help ensure our justice system is fairer and more equitable, and help build stronger families and communities by making it easier for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers to find stable housing, good-paying jobs, and quality education. I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing this critical legislation today, as well as Senator Myrie, Assemblymember Cruz, and all the dedicated advocates who worked for years to make it a reality.”

OCA Chief Administrative Judge Joseph A. Zayas said, “The Unified Court System strongly supports the Clean Slate legislation, and we applaud Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for their leadership on this issue. This legislation is fully consistent with the Judiciary’s ongoing efforts to facilitate the reintegration of individuals with conviction histories, and address the consequences of systemic injustices. We thank the Governor and Legislature for their commitment to provide the funding that the courts need for this initiative, and look forward to working with them to ensure that the Clean Slate law is successfully implemented on time.”

Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple Sr. said, “Clean Slate is about real second chances for New Yorkers who were involved in the criminal justice system, but have since rehabilitated and gained the skills to benefit their communities, their families, and themselves. By sealing old criminal convictions from civil background searches, this law will help reduce a barrier to jobs and housing that people face when returning home. I commend Governor Hochul’s efforts to help people get their lives back on track while ensuring public safety. Through her efforts, law enforcement will still have access to the critical information that helps our deputies keep their communities safe every day.”

Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa said, “Clean slate will allow those individuals who made mistakes in their lives to turn the page and restart. To re enter society and the economy allowing them to support their families.”

Law Enforcement Action Partnership Board Member and Former Rochester Police Department Member Deputy Chief Wayne Harris (Ret.) said, "This is a huge victory for justice. People who pay their debt to society deserve a second chance and allowing them to reintegrate is a win for public safety. This will also significantly contribute to the relationship between our police and our communities.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr. said, “By removing barriers to housing, jobs, and education, the Clean Slate Act makes our communities safer and our legal system fairer. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this critical bill and ensuring that New Yorkers with criminal convictions can rebuild their lives, as well as the many impacted individuals, advocates, and legislators whose work helped make this momentous day a reality.”

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said, “Our communities are safer when those with prior convictions, who have served their time and obeyed the law for many years afterward, are given the chance to earn a living and build a better future. While prosecutors and law enforcement will continue to have access to prior records so that we may do our jobs effectively, this law strikes the right balance between public safety and rehabilitation for those who choose a better path.”

Tompkins County District Attorney Matthew Van Houten said, "I support the Clean Slate Act because we should recognize that people who have made mistakes in the past or committed crimes due to systemic inequities should not be punished for the rest of their lives. Individuals who have remained stable and law abiding should be given the opportunity to seek jobs, housing and education, which would otherwise be unavailable due to criminal justice involvement from years ago. This legislation represents a common sense balance between accountability and fairness which is ultimately in the interests of public safety for our communities.”

JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said, “Second chances create opportunities for individuals to build their lives and improve their financial health, and at the same time deliver results for employers and strengthen the economy. We applaud Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law and taking an important step forward in bolstering the state’s economy by more fully tapping the talents of the 2.3 million New Yorkers directly impacted by this legislation. We thank bill sponsors Senator Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, and all the advocates for their tireless push to advance Clean Slate in the legislature. We look forward to working with partners across the public and private sectors to implement Clean Slate and help more New Yorkers grow and prosper.”

Microsoft Corporate Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs Fred Humphries said, “Microsoft supports state efforts to enact and implement automatic record clearing to increase economic opportunity and streamline the process for individuals returning to the community and workforce. We joined the Clean Slate New York Coalition, supported the bill’s introduction, and today, applaud its being signed into law. Thank you, Governor Hochul, Senator Myrieand Assemblymember Cruz for your leadership.”

Partnership for New York City President and CEO Kathryn Wylde said, “The business community supports Governor Hochul’s balanced approach to criminal justice issues and agrees that Clean Slate is a positive measure for both the individuals affected and the broader community.”

The Business Council of New York State Inc. Executive Vice President Paul Zuber said, “The Business Council and our membership, many of whom have long supported the clean slate initiative, are thankful the Governor has signed this second chance bill, creating meaningful opportunities for many individuals ready to reenter the workforce. The Business Council believes this bill will help our state’s economy grow and be a vehicle for a more inclusive workforce.”

National Action Network Founder and Civil Rights Activist Rev. Al Sharpton said, "Today is a momentous day for the state of New York. We know some will do their best to stand in the way of economic and racial justice. They will try to stoke fear and create needless panic. We will not let them. The best way to keep communities and New Yorkers safe is by allowing people who have paid their debt to society to rebuild their lives and care for their families. Governor Hochul is creating a brighter -- and safer -- future for New York."

National Association of Colored People former President and New York chapter of the NAACP current President Hazel Dukes said, "Today is a landmark step forward for the state of New York. Overincarceration has destroyed far too many communities of color. And even worse, that damage lingers when those who paid their debt in full are still blocked from finding a job or a place for their families to live. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation and giving millions of New Yorkers the clean slate they have earned and deserve."

National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said, "The Clean Slate Act has a simple premise: that once someone has paid their debt to society, they deserve the chance to rebuild their lives. For too long, that has been flatly out of reach for far too many. People who have been convicted of a crime have been denied the ability to provide for their families, denied the dignity of work and denied access to a safe home for them and their loved ones. And they continue to face those denials for decades after they have fully repaid their debt to society. That is beyond unjust. Today, Governor Hochul said loudly that she will no longer allow this injustice to stand."

President & Executive Director of Tech:NYC Julie Samuels said, “The Clean Slate Act extends life-changing opportunities to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, bringing much overdue justice to communities of color and helping build an economy that leaves no one behind. This legislation will also help power New York’s increasingly dynamic tech ecosystem, offering a new source of much-needed talent for fast-growing companies. Tech:NYC and our member companies were proud supporters of this bill last session, and we remain committed to helping build a more inclusive economy today. We commend the governor for signing it into law.”

Indeed SVP of ESG LaFawn Davis said, “It just got a lot easier to hire great talent in New York. At Indeed, we believe advancing opportunities for job seekers with criminal records is critical to creating an equitable workforce. We are thrilled that Governor Hochul signed this vital Clean Slate legislation.”

National Grid New York Chief People Officer Celeste Schneider said, "The Clean Slate Act signed into law by Governor Hochul is a pivotal move in broadening economic opportunities for numerous New Yorkers. The dedication of our leaders to create diverse pathways to success for our communities will support the growth of the clean energy sector, supplying the skilled personnel essential to achieving the State’s ambitious clean energy objectives."

The Business Council of Westchester Executive Vice President John Ravitz said, “The Business Council of Westchester, the county’s largest business membership organization focusing on economic development and advocacy, applauds Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate legislation, into law. This law will play a key role in helping New York State employers deal with the ongoing workforce shortage. The BCW supported the legislation because it will help a population of New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society and should have the opportunity to have a chance to obtain a job. The BCW also applauds the sponsors of the bill who listened to the concerns of employees and added strong checks and balances and more liability protections for employers in the bill.”

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jessica Walker said, “This is a tremendous step forward for New York and we applaud the Governor for her leadership on the issue. People who have erred and then turned their lives around deserve the opportunity to earn a living. Removing barriers to employment is key.”

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers said, “Governor Hochul recognizes how the Clean Slate Act will open so many more opportunities for both business owners and the job-seekers who coveted these jobs, but were shut out for far too long. Everywhere I go in Brooklyn small businesses are struggling to find employees to fill job openings and this will help to greatly expand the talent pool. The Clean Slate Act is about economic justice, development and helping New York’s workforce develop and grow.”

Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Sorin said, “We all make mistakes. Some, worse than others. The defining factor in determining how much of a second chance one deserves is the passage of time and what this says about the lessons learned from the mistake. The Clean Slate law looks to this factor and recognizes the reward that can be given when an ex-offender clearly demonstrates that he or she has learned from these mistakes and moved forward to live as a contributing member of society. More than a reward, it’s a carrot on the stick of rehabilitation. As such it will discourage recidivism and benefit us all.”

Bronx Community Foundation President and CEO Meisha Porter said, “Giving people the chance to provide for themselves and their families through solid jobs, stable housing, and quality educational opportunities is the best thing we can do to help those retuning to our communities, and that is precisely what the Clean Slate legislation will do. I applaud Governor Hochul for taking a stand for true justice in our state by signing this landmark bill into law today.”

Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Williams said, “On Behalf of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, I wish to profoundly thank Governor Hochul for her continued vision and leadership. The NYS Clean Slate Legislation , which our Governor advocated for will benefit thousands of families statewide. What forth-thought!! New York State will definitely derive the long term and short term human benefits.”

Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Legal Committee Executive Board Member and Co-Chair Honorable Milton Tingling (JSC Ret.) said, “We applaud Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act today. This is a great step to break the cycle of incarceration and re-incarceration and let those who have served their time become productive members of their communities.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “A conviction on a person's record hinders opportunities like stable jobs, professional licenses, and secure housing. After someone pays their debt to society, they deserve the opportunity to procure a good job to forge a path towards a new life. Today represents a pivotal moment in New York’s commitment to breaking down barriers for individuals with criminal records who have already paid their debt to society. Greater Rochester Chamber is proud to have been a strong supporter of the Clean Slate Act and we thank Governor Hochul, Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Myrie, Assembly Member Cruz, and all of the advocates who played a role in its enactment.”

Center for Employment Opportunities WNY Site Director Cerise Sutton said, “Center for Employment Opportunities applauds the Governor’s signing of Clean Slate. The Clean Slate bill aligns with our vision that everyone, regardless of their past, deserves the chance to work toward a stronger future for themselves, their families, and their communities. With this signing, more New Yorkers will now have a fair chance at gainful employment, housing, and education, and will no longer be discriminated against for their criminal conviction. We also celebrate our Advocacy Fellows who led CEO’s advocacy and organizing efforts on making sure this bill was passed and signed. Today marks a significant stride towards ending perpetual punishment, and we look forward to continuing our work towards bettering the lives of all justice-impacted New Yorkers.”

Con Edison Senior Attorney and CEO Action for Racial Equity Fellow Joeann Walker said, “Con Edison applauds Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law as this bill will ensure that businesses and organizations can unlock the human and economic potential of New Yorkers with conviction histories.”

New York City Bar Association President Susan Kohlmann said, "The New York City Bar Association applauds Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law. Clean Slate is an innovative legislative solution to ameliorate what individuals with conviction histories experience as a civil life sentence. In doing so, this crucial law will allow millions of New Yorkers the opportunity to move forward, achieve financial and housing security, and become vital participants in New York's economy. We thank legislative sponsors and the diverse coalition that worked tirelessly to see this day come.”

Representative Dan Goldman said, “I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for signing Clean Slate into law. We must remove barriers that make it impossible for New Yorkers who were previously incarcerated on nonviolent, low-level offenses to return as productive members of society. The passage of Clean Slate is about reducing recidivism and giving a second chance to those have paid their debt to society. I am a proud co-sponsor of the federal Clean Slate Act and I am thankful to see New York State take this step. I am also grateful to Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz for their leadership in introducing and passing this important piece of legislation.”

State Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “With the signing of Clean Slate, we’re forging a better future for millions of New Yorkers across our county and State. If we truly believe in second chances and the potential for rehabilitation, we must give individuals who have paid their proverbial debt to society a fair shot at rebuilding their lives. Countless members of the business community have lent their voice in support of this necessary measure to empower those who want to do better for themselves and their communities. A true second chance requires an individual to be made whole – emotionally as well as economically. Giving individuals an opportunity for employment and the sense of accomplishment that comes with gainful employment is crucial. Thank you to sponsors Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz for your stewardship of this historic legislation, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, the directly impacted individuals and family members who bravely shared their stories, and the entire Clean Slate coalition for your tireless advocacy.”

State Senator Pete Harckham said, “New York State takes a big step toward a brighter future for millions of residents with the enactment of the Clean Slate Act. People with convictions that have since followed the law, need the opportunity to find gainful employment, go to school, access credit and contribute to our economy. We need to help them succeed as workers and taxpayers, not stigmatize them for life. When people have a chance to turn their lives around, we can lower recidivism and make our communities safer. I thank Governor Hochul for enacting this common-sense law, which will make our communities stronger and safer.”

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said,I’m incredibly proud to have voted for Clean Slate, a bill that is going to give people a path forward to build a better future for themselves and their families while keeping our communities safer and stronger in the process. This is the work that truly makes a difference for the next generation, and I congratulate sponsors Senator Myrie and Assembly member Cruz for their leadership, and thank Governor Hochul for signing this bill.”

Assemblymember Jon Rivera said, "Today's signing of the Clean Slate Act represents something simple than many take for granted: a second chance. More than 2.3 million New Yorkers will no longer have their life defined by their biggest mistake. Instead, they will have a chance to redefine their live through gainful employment, stable housing, and repairing relationships with their families and communities. Not only is this bill a beacon of hope for these individuals, it also represents an opportunity for businesses to address critical workforce shortages. I am grateful to the Governor for signing this legislation, which will fundamentally shift the way New Yorkers are impacted by the criminal justice system."

Assemblymember Gary Pretlow said, “I am proud to witness the passage of the Clean Slate Bill. This landmark legislation not only signifies our commitment to criminal justice reform but also offers a new beginning for countless individuals who deserve a chance to rebuild their lives. By providing a path to expunge certain convictions, we are fostering a more just and compassionate society, where individuals can overcome past mistakes and contribute positively to our communities.”

Assemblymember Dana Levenberg said, "The Clean Slate Act removes a huge obstacle for people who have served their time and are trying to become productive New Yorkers. In my district, I have seen firsthand how genuine rehabilitation efforts, like Hudson Link, prevent recidivism by helping people develop the ability to get what they need through legal means. By enabling people who have completed their sentences to access legitimate forms of employment, housing, health care, and more, Clean Slate will remove factors that can push people toward crime. Other states with similar legislation have seen crime rates go down and employment go up. This law makes sense for public safety and for our economy, and I applaud Governor Hochul for signing it into law."

Assemblymember Chris Burdick said, "It is time that we as a society change the way we see incarceration and rehabilitation. If our goal is for people to become contributing members of society after serving their time, then we have toremove the barriers that prevent them from doing so. We have to stop making every sentence a life sentence with perpetual punishment, even once a person has been released. Clean Slate is a huge step in the right direction. Kudos to Senator Myrie and Assemblymember Cruz for sponsoring this legislation and for their unwavering determination to see this across the finish line. And thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this impactful piece of legislation into law."

Assemblymember Taylor Darling said, “Today, is a historic day for the State of New York. Governor Kathy Hochul has shown true leadership and compassion by signing the Clean Slate Act into law. The automatic sealing of conviction records, will bring an end to the unjust and perpetual punishment millions of residents have faced due to their conviction records. Individuals will no longer be denied access to employment, housing, and education, but instead, will have the opportunity to fully participate and thrive in their communities. The impact of this bill cannot be understated. I must commend Senator Myrie and Assemblywoman Cruz for their leadership and courage to stand up for the millions of New Yorkers to make this a reality! Let us also recognize the power of second chances and the importance of creating a fair and inclusive society. Today, we celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in New York's journey towards a more just and equitable future."

Assemblymember Pat Fahy said, “Today’s signature of the Clean Slate bill means that many New Yorkers will now get a second chance. With exceptions for serious violent felonies, this would not have happened without the hard work of Governor Hochul, Senator Myrie, and the New York State Business Council.”

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh said, "As a business owner I recognize the challenges employers have had filling roles in the workforce. I also recognize that everyone deserves a second chance which is good for the individual, their family, their community, and our economy. I commend the Governor, along with the Senate and Assembly sponsors who worked diligently to ensure that all stakeholders, including but not limited to, the business community, law enforcement, daycare providers, and education leaders were heard in this conversation and that their concerns were included in the final approved version of the bill. Allowing access to relevant information for certain sectors that would need it is of the utmost importance and the responsiveness to the stakeholders led to a bill that the groups were ultimately supportive of. This effort was a collaborative one that took into account implementation and is not subject to the critique that we have heard when it comes to some criminal justice reforms that the comprehensive effects of policies are not being considered."

Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky said, “At a time when we are facing a significant labor shortage, and as millions of New Yorkers struggle to feed their families, we cannot afford to relegate qualified workers to the sidelines. That is why I am so pleased that Governor Hochul signed into law the Clean Slate Act. People convicted of crimes who have paid their debt to society and did not commit new crimes during a long waiting period will have their slates wiped clean, and can fully participate in our job market. The public safety will be maintained by excluding from eligibility those who committed more serious crimes, and with well-considered exceptions allowing earlier convictions to be used for certain purposes. This legislation will help our economy grow and our communities thrive.”

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said, “The signing of the Clean Slate Act into law is a monumental step for our state that will improve our communities, public safety, and New York’s economy. Each year, it is estimated that the state leaves $7 billion in earnings on the table by excluding millions of New Yorkers from our workforce. By removing barriers to employment, housing, education, and other economic opportunities for the more than 2 million New Yorkers with an old conviction record, this new law will empower individuals and families to access pathways to opportunity, stability, and success. We thank Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, Senator Myrie, Assembly Member Cruz, and their colleagues for leading efforts on this bill, as well as the advocates whose steadfast commitment carried it to the finish line.”

New York City Council Member Chi Ossé said, “New York has woken up to the dangers of perpetual punishment. I am thrilled to see Governor Kathy Hochul sign into law the Clean Slate Act to ensure that New Yorkers who have made mistakes in their past do not lose the potential for a bright future. Today, our justice system becomes more just. We should all be proud.”

Council Member Sandy Nurse said, "I applaud the Governor for signing the Clean Slate Act to enable those who have served their time to move forward with their lives," said Council Member Sandy Nurse. "Eliminating barriers to housing, employment and education opportunities will ensure that New Yorkers are set up for success and ensure they do not fall into a cycle of recidivism."

Council Member Rita Joseph said, "Clean Slate is about giving a second chance to those who have paid their debt to society for the wrongs they have committed. No one should be barred from re-entering their community and contributing fully to its success despite demonstrating serious positive change and a clear commitment to moving forward because of a past mistake, which has been rectified either through punishment or other legal forms of sanctions. We commend the New York State Legislature for passing this bill and the Governor for signing it into law! This is the right thing to do. Everyone deserves a second chance!"

Council Member Lincoln Restler said, “A conviction for a misdemeanor or a felony should not be a life sentence, but discrimination against formerly incarcerated individuals far too often indefinitely limits access to jobs and housing. Credit to Governor Hochul, Senator Myrie, Assembly Member Cruz and all the supporters in the legislature and advocates who are ensuring life outcomes for New Yorkers aren't defined by their worst moments.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said, “Now that the Clean Slate Act has been signed into law by Governor Hochul, people who serve their sentence and remain law abiding can keep on track by sealing a criminal record which removes potential barriers to housing, employment, education, and social services. It serves public safety by reducing the chance of recidivism.”

Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “A job is one of the most effective deterrents to criminal behavior, and preventing people from obtaining good jobs is harmful to our citizens and our communities. I appreciate our New York State legislators and Governor Hochul for their continued efforts to improve workforce development and enable people to become productive members of society.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "A past criminal conviction should not be a life sentence to discrimination in employment, education or housing. I commend Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act. The new law is supported by advocates, law enforcement and the judicial system because it provides protections for public safety and provisions to help people who have paid their dues to society to achieve stability for themselves and their families.”

Mayor of the City of Ithaca Laura Lewis said, "As Mayor of the City of Ithaca, I wholeheartedly endorse Governor Hochul’s Clean Slate Act. We live in a community that values compassion, justice, and a belief in the power of rehabilitation. By offering a clean slate to those seeking to rebuild their lives, we are fostering an environment that creates pathways for individuals to contribute positively to our city's future and to benefit from our city’s resources. This will play a key role as we look at our continuing workforce needs in Ithaca."

Binghamton City Councilmember Angela Riley said, "As legislators, it is our responsibility to support and enact laws that facilitate fresh starts for those who have paid their debt to society. A person who has served their time, completed rehabilitation programs, and demonstrated a commitment to change deserves an opportunity for a clean slate. By embracing a more compassionate and forward-thinking approach to criminal justice, we not only foster individual redemption but also contribute to building safer and more resilient communities. I am thankful that Governor Hochul has signed the Clean Slate legislation. Together we must continue to create legislation, programs and services that support the complete reintegration of individuals into society, recognizing that a society that provides a path to redemption, with a truly clean slate, is one that values justice and the potential for positive change."

Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York Business Manager David Bolger said, "For years our union chanted, ‘Clean Slate can't wait!’ and now we're proud to say it won't wait and will be the law in New York thanks to Governor Hochul's actions today. 2.3 million New Yorkers will finally be able to have the dignity and justice many take for granted on the job, at home, and in our communities. Thank you Governor Hochul, Assembly Member Cruz, Senator Myrie, and legislative leaders Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for your tireless work to make this policy a reality in New York."

Laborers' Local 79 Business Manager Mike Prohaska said, "We applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act, and for working with the state legislature to implement this important new law. We're proud to have been a visible and vocal member of the Clean Slate NY coalition, partnering with other labor unions, business groups, and criminal justice reformers to make the Clean Slate Act a reality. This vital law will enable more than 2.3 million New Yorkers with old conviction records to obtain jobs, including career-oriented union jobs in fields like construction. Sealing old conviction records will help formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and those impacted by the criminal justice system re-enter our state's economy, transform their lives, and pursue a better future. These individuals - many of them Black and Latino - will now be able not only to obtain jobs, but to stay employed, move up the income ladder, and build generational wealth.”

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Political Director Helen Schaub said, “The signing of this bill into law by Governor Hochul will help tackle long-standing racial inequities in our criminal justice system while also expanding the state’s workforce at a time of significant shortages. This new law will help eliminate barriers to jobs, housing and education for thousands of New Yorkers who deserve the opportunity to move forward with their lives. We applaud all ofthe grassroots activists for their tireless work in making this proposal a reality.”

President of the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council Rich Maroko said, "HTC applauds Governor Kathy Hochul for signing this historic civil justice reform bill. We are proud to stand with Governor Hochul and with the Clean Slate coalition whose efforts were critical in passing this important legislation, which will foster increased stability within New York communities and contribute to a more robust economy in our state."

NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez said, “The Clean Slate legislation signed today will help uplift thousands of New York families by allowing individuals who have paid their debt to society to become productive members of their communities and help to strengthen our City’se conomy. The NYC Labor Movement strongly supports Clean Slate, and we applaud Governor Hochul along with our State Legislature for bringing it across the finish line.”

District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, "We applaud Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law. No one should suffer a lifetime of closed doors for past mistakes, especially those who have served their time. With this legislation, more New Yorkers can now live without discrimination for their history and move toward a future with new opportunities to contribute to society.”

CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis G. Trainor said, “All New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to join the workforce and provide for their families. I commend Governor Hochul on signing the Clean Slate Act and ensuring that New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society are able to contribute to their communities and participate in our economy. This important law will benefit not just millions of individual New Yorkers, but strengthen our state as a whole.”

Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW Political & Communications Director Nikki Kateman said, “The historic signature of the Clean Slate Act into law means that millions of justice-involved New Yorkers will receive a second chance. As longtime advocates for workers, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW understands the types of hurdles impacted members of our communities face while trying to re-enter the workforce and regain their financial independence. For decades, these workers have been at an unfair disadvantage and faced ongoing punishment despite repaying their debts to society. Today, and going forward, this will no longer be the case. We applaud the New York State Legislature and Governor Hochul for wiping the slate clean for justice-involved individuals and giving them the opportunity to thrive in New York’s workforce and achieve economic security for their families.”

The Bronx Defenders Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Policy and Civil Action Practices Johari Frasier said, “Clean Slate is a long-overdue step toward ending the perpetual punishment of our legal system for millions of New Yorkers. The people we serve have paid their debt to society and will now finally have the opportunity to find employment, participate in their communities and provide for their families. We look forward to working with the governor and legislature to find more ways of dismantling the myriad of barriers erected to prevent full citizenship of those convicted of offenses."

Youth Represent Director of Policy Kate Rubin said, "Clean Slate is transformative for young people in New York. First, because it will automatically seal the records of hundreds of thousands of people who were arrested and convicted when they were teenagers or young adults, and who have faced lifelong barriers as a result. And second, because it is one step toward closing the racial wealth gap that has been made worse by a system that punishes Black and Latiné people not only disproportionately, but perpetually. Youth Represent applauds Governor Hochul for signing this critical legislation and congratulates the bill sponsors and Clean Slate coalition leaders for this incredible victory."

Urban Jobs Task Force Syracuse Executive Director Tylah Worrell said, “For far too long, criminal records have stood in the way of capable, qualified, and worthy New Yorkers being able to gain meaningful employment. As an advocacy organization focused on alleviating poverty through equitable access to economic opportunity, Urban Jobs Task Force of Syracuse views Clean Slate as one of the many building blocks in achieving our mission to remove barriers to employment through policy reform. We cheerfully join Governor Hochul in the celebration of victory for justice today’s signing represents.”

Acacia Network CEO Lymaris Albors said, "Acacia Network applauds Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law. For far too long, New Yorkers who have served their sentences and want to move forward with their lives have been denied the opportunity to do so, with devastating impacts on their health and wellbeing. For individuals with substance use disorders, like many of Acacia's clients, access to stable housing and employment is crucial to providing the stable foundation necessary to maintain their recovery. The Clean Slate Act is a beacon of light for millions of New Yorkers in reentry, a disproportionate number of whom are Black and brown due to systemic racism permeating our criminal legal system. It promises to help them obtain the jobs and homes they need to take care of themselves and remain healthy."

ARCA President and Founder Greg Shoemaker said, “Signing the Clean Slate bill shows Governor Hochul’s and New York State’s commitment to reducing barriers and increasing second-chance initiatives. ARCA is thankful that there is now a law to improve access to opportunities for millions wanting to re-enter the workforce and better their communities. We look forward to the positive effects this law will have on businesses, in and out of our network and the growth of the New York workforce across all industries.”

The Clean Slate Initiative CEO Sheena Meade said, “After years of sustained advocacy and strong public demand, New York is on the path to ensuring that a past mistake will not forever foreclose the opportunity for people to build a better life for themselves and their families. Soon, millions of New Yorkers will no longer be defined by their records and will have the opportunity to contribute to their community, have a fair opportunity to work, get an education, and achieve their full potential. This common-sense public policy will help reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and stimulate the state’s economy by expanding the workforce of qualified and skilled workers who have previously been denied opportunities because of a past conviction. We applaud the hundreds of community partners who fought tirelessly to advance this policy, as well as state Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz for their leadership in the state legislature, and Governor Hochul for signing The New York Clean Slate Act into law.”

Clean Slate NY coalition at Center for Community Alternatives Lead Organizer Garrett Smith said, “The Clean Slate Act is historic reform that will bring relief to millions of New Yorkers who have been excluded from economic opportunity, stable housing, and higher education for far too long. While more work remains to be done to end perpetual punishment for all people, we know that the Clean Slate Act will help New Yorkers support their families, create stronger and safer communities, and boost our economy.”

President of the Brooklyn NAACP L. Joy Williams said, "Today New York State takes a significant leap towards justice and equity with the signing of the Clean Slate Act. I wholeheartedly commend this momentous step in our collective journey toward a more inclusive and just society. The Clean Slate Act embodies our shared belief that individuals who have served their sentences deserve not just forgiveness but the full restoration of their rights as citizens. It allows those who have served their debt to society to fully participate in and contribute to our communities, strengthening our social fabric and reinforcing the principles of justice and equity."

Center for Justice Innovation Director Courtney Bryan said, “The Center for Justice Innovation is steadfast in its mission to forge a justice system that is fair, effective, and humane. We are proud to support the signing of the Clean Slate Act as it’s a monumental stride towards ensuring second chances for all. This signing underscores our state's resolute dedication to mitigating the adverse impacts of the legal system on individuals seeking successful reintegration into their communities. This transformative legislation will begin to deliver justice and improve the well-being of communities most profoundly affected by carceral systems. This is a great step forward in our commitment to minimizing barriers so that every citizen, regardless of past mistakes, can rebuild their lives, fostering a society rooted in compassion, rehabilitation, and equal opportunity.”

REFORM Alliance CEO Robert Rooks said, "We must build a culture where second chances are second nature. Too many people are excluded from fully participating in our society simply because at some point in their past they were incarcerated. The Clean Slate Act will remove barriers to stability and create real opportunities for system-impacted people to succeed, while strengthening public safety and boosting businesses. At REFORM Alliance, we will continue to advocate for common sense reforms across the country that create pathways to work and wellbeing for people living with records, including those on probation and parole."

REFORM Alliance Chief Advocacy and Operations Officer Jessica Jackson said, “We applaud Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act into law. This legislation brought together an incredible coalition stretching across party lines and diverse communities from across the State of New York. Employers, faith leaders, crime survivors, advocates and law enforcement all recognize that reducing barriers to jobs, housing and opportunity will not only create a fairer chance for individuals to succeed, but it will make us all safer. We also appreciate the hard work of the New York legislature in advancing this bill. Clean Slate is a historic step towards a fairer and more just New York and will have impacts far beyond the hundreds of thousands it will directly help. This law is a win for all New Yorkers.”

CASES President & CEO Jonathan McLean said, "Governor Hochul's action to sign Clean Slate is a victory for the millions of New Yorkers with criminal convictions, mostly Black and Brown men like me. When I was released from prison, I had to lie on job applications for years, because I knew if I was honest that I would not be hired, even though I was just trying to support myself and be a part of my community. This legislation is an essential step in ending perpetual punishment and allowing people to move past their worst days. It will be hugely beneficial to the individuals we serve at CASES. I commend the Governor for signing this bill.”

Common Justice said, “We celebrate the Governor’s signing of the Clean Slate Act, which will help remove long-standing barriers to basic life essentials for people who've served their time. Millions of New Yorkers endure a life sentence through their conviction record that creates no pathway to healing and keeps families entrenched in poverty. We stand with those punished beyond their sentences, advocates, and many others who've called on New York to be a state of second chances and healing, not perpetual punishment.”

The Children’s Defense Fund-New York Director of Youth Justice & Child Welfare Julia L. Davis said, “Thanks to the tireless efforts of coalition members, our champions in the legislature, and now the Governor’s signature, Clean Slate is the law in New York! We celebrate this critical racial justice legislation and the chance it offers to permit millions of our neighbors to fully participate in our communities, go to school, find meaningful work, live in stable housing, and care for their family. We know that this will make a difference for children living in poverty across New York, as we open doors to opportunity for parents and caregivers.”

New Hour for Women and Children Executive Director Serena Martin-Liguori said, “We applaud the signing of the Clean Slate Act. Signing this bill into law will allow formerly incarcerated mothers, like myself, who far too often are the primary caretakers for their children, to no longer be discriminated against when applying for jobs. Women are perpetually punished and cannot properly provide for their families as a result of incarceration, as they are continuously refused employment. We support Governor Hochul signing this historic bill and creating a second chance for millions of women, men and families.”

The Community Service Society of New York President David R. Jones said, “The Community Service Society of New York applauds Governor Hochulfor signing legislation that will relieve millions of New Yorkers from the perpetual punishment of stale criminal records, which has always fallen more harshly on communities of color. Clean Slate is a victory years in the making, and we use this moment of celebration to recommit ourselves to the work to come. We look forward to working on implementation so that the dream of a second chance finally becomes reality.”

The NY Jewish Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform and Central Synagogue Rabbi Hilly Haber said, "In Jewish tradition, there is no such thing as perpetual punishment or permanent exile. As a people, we believe in the power and practice of teshuvah; the ability for each one of us to repent, atone, and return with a ‘clean slate.’ Our criminal legal system today too often denies people who have done the work of atonement and repair the opportunity to fully return to their communities. Clean Slate helps create a pathway to teshuva for New Yorkers who are coming home and a roadmap to a safe and healthy New York for all New Yorkers.”

Latino Justice PRLDEF Justice Advocate Coordinator Robert Willis said, “We celebrate the Governor’s signing of the Clean Slate Act, as sealing criminal records provides an important tool to remove some of the many barriers that obstruct the path of formerly incarcerated individuals seeking legitimate reintegration. Every individual, regardless of their past, deserves the chance to rebuild their lives and strengthen our communities. The work ahead is not just necessary; it is an imperative for a fair and inclusive society."

New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh said, “The Clean Slate Act will go a long way towards ensuring that New Yorkers no longer have to endure discrimination and civil damage due to past interactions with the criminal justice system. Clean Slate addresses the disproportionate effect of perpetual punishment of bars to basic opportunities and services on Black and brown New Yorkers. Now, our communities will be able to obtain stable employment, secure housing, and licenses to practice trades without fear that their conviction record will be an impassable hurdle.”

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, “Signing Clean Slate into law is an important step towards advancing racial justice, supporting successful reentry, and advancing community safety. Clean Slate will benefit millions of New Yorkers who are currently trapped in cycles of poverty and punishment for a past criminal conviction. It will help address the harm done by decades of racist over-policing that targeted Black and Brown communities and remove a significant barrier to employment, housing, and other necessities that formerly incarcerated New Yorkers need to re-enter society and rebuild their lives with dignity. Albany lawmakers must build on this reform to provide more protections for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers.”

The Legal Aid Society Chief Attorney of the Criminal Defense Practice Tina Luongo said, "This is a moment for the millions of New Yorkers who have been forced to suffer under the cloud of a criminal conviction that has long impeded their ability to secure employment, housing, educational opportunities, benefits and other critical needs. With the stroke of a pen, Governor Kathy Hochul has ended this nightmare and transformed the lives of so many of our clients and their families for the better. The Legal Aid Society lauds bill sponsors Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz for championing Clean Slate, and we urge lawmakers to build on this success next session by passing other needed measures to overhaul our unjust and punitive criminal legal system."

Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative Executive Director Aqua Y. Porter said, “Being poor is not a crime. As our neighbors in Rochester returned to the community after incarceration, they have often found themselves locked out of basic necessities even though they have served their sentences. These community members are barred from basic opportunities like stable jobs, licenses to practice trades and safe, secure housing. This is not justice. The Clean Slate Act represents a major step toward decriminalizing poverty and addressing the structural racism that for decades had been built into our justice system. It will expand upward mobility for everyone in our community. Rochester’s community members have yearned for this change. Through RMAPI’s extensive outreach to the community, neighbors continually emphasize the need to review and revise laws that were targeted at the most vulnerable members of our community and change a system that criminalizes poverty at the expense of families. We are pleased that New York policymakers decided to right this wrong and the Clean Slate Act has been signed into law.”

Chinese-American Planning Council President and CEO Wayne Ho said,“CPC celebrates the signing of the Clean Slate Act, which will end unfair punishment and greatly increase access to employment, housing, and education for millions of New Yorkers. We thank Governor Hochul for signing the bill into law, the bill co-sponsors, and the leadership of State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz for getting us to this day by working closely with community leaders and stakeholders who have led the way through years of organizing and advocacy.”

Elite Learners, Inc. CEO Camara Jackson said, “The Passing of the Clean Slate Bill was pivotal to organizations in Violence Prevention Work. It allowed for many of our employees and participants to have a second chance. Clearing police records isn’t just about erasing the past; it’s about empowering individuals to keep embracing a new chapter full of opportunities and redemption.”

NYU McSilver Institute for Policy Poverty and Research Executive Director Rose Pierre-Louis said, “For far too long our family, friends, and neighbors have come home to find their past incarceration continues to bar them from what they most need to restart their lives. With the Clean Slate Act, we will finally eliminate a major barrier to employment, housing, and other essentials that has unfairly impacted returning citizens. Governor Hochul has again made New York a leading light for reform in the nation by signing into law this much-needed legislation that so many have dedicated their lives to achieving and are finally seeing made real.”

NYU Law Brennan Center for Justice Senior Counsel Ames Grawert said, "The Clean Slate Act is a great victory for racial and economic justice in New York State. It will give millions of New Yorkers who are trying to rebuild their lives a better chance at jobs, college, and housing. Brennan Center research shows that New Yorkers with criminal records collectively lose $12.6 billion in earnings every year, a hardship that this bill will help reduce. We applaud Governor Hochulfor signing the Clean Slate Act and look forward to working on implementation with partners in government, advocates, and directly impacted people."

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies CEO Jennifer Jones Austin said,“The NYS Legislature’s passage of the Clean Slate Act is a necessary and critical step towards achieving true equity for all. The outsized impact of conviction records have subjected disproportionately people and communities of color to excessive punishment well beyond their time served, but now, with this legislation, doors of opportunity that were once closed – to jobs, safe and affordable housing, and life changing education – can be reopened and positively impact children, families, and whole communities for generations to come.”

Trinity Church Wall Street Managing Director of External Affairs and Special Projects Natasha Lifton said, “We stand with the broad coalition of supporters of this landmark law in thanking the Governor for her leadership to end the perpetual punishment of our fellow New Yorkers who have completed their sentences and paid their debt to society. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration as the Clean Slate Act is implemented across the state.”

Victory Temple Fellowship Church Pastor and Councilor of DeWitt Town Board Reverend H. Bernard Alex said, “The Clean Slate Act gives those who need the proverbial second chance an opportunity to move forward without a continuing payment for what has clearly been paid in full. Governor Hochul again has taken a bold move to build up the workforce of New York State with people who have an internal drive, a motive to succeed and an intentionality to excel. It shows that the leader of our State Government not only recognizes the importance of forgiveness and workforce development but also that New York again stands as an example of what it means to be The Empire State. Governor Hochul has moved the state forward with keen vision for the future, a heart of compassion and celebrating those that are ready to fill job and business opportunities that are available."

Community Baptist Church Pastor and Retired Police Detective Reverend Dr. Donald E. Butler said, “The Clean Slate Act” will be a great opportunity for those who deserve a second chance. As a retired police detective in the state of New York, and a pastor of a local church in the same state, the signing of this bill will not only assist non-violent offenders to be reacclimated into our workforce, but also assist in building our economy. I also believe that this will also help those in minority communities that have been accused and convicted of offenses that are now legal in our society. It’s time to give everyone a fair opportunity to earn and to participate in the building of our economy."

New Mt. Zion Baptist Church Harlem Pastor, Empire State Missionary Baptist Convention President and MPAC Board Chairman Reverend Dr. Carl L. Washington Jr. said, "A formerly incarcerated man named Malcolm X came to Harlem in 1954 and became one of the prominent faces of the Civil Rights Movement. Since then, far too many of our brothers and sisters have not been afforded the same opportunity to reclaim an upright stance in society. The blemish of having a criminal record has systematically prevented them from attaining resources and though now free, they remain de facto inmates to societal prisons. The Clean Slate Act stands to eliminate some of the barriers that have kept the formerly incarcerated from full participation in families and communities that sorely need them. Governor Hochul has taken a proactive step in reducing recidivism and providing economic empowerment for the entire state of New York."

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “Long after someone has served out their sentence and paid their debt to society for a crime committed, they continue to pay the price. Past convictions have a tremendous impact on obtaining employment, housing and loans, which ultimately only creates obstacles for an individual and their family to get their lives back on track and avoid future incarceration. The Clean Slate Act would reverse this injustice and create a more equitable system, and I thank Governor Hochul for signing it today.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "I commend Governor Hochul for signing Clean Slate into law. Those who have served their time for lower-level crime and have not committed another offense post-release deserve to have access to jobs and housing - and the only way to ensure they are not discriminated against is to seal their criminal records. My administration felt so strongly about the Clean Slate initiative that we have hosted several Conviction Sealing Clinics over the past few years to help those who paid their debt to society to begin the then-narrower criminal record sealing process while this legislation was debated in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Thank you to Governor Hochul and Albany's legislative delegation of Senator Neil Breslin, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, and Assemblymember John McDonald for supporting this initiative."

Mayor Waylyn Hobbs, Village of Hempstead said, “I stand in support and solidarity with Gov. Hochul as she continues to move NY forward with the signing of the Clean Slate Bill. The best way to rehabilitate and transform individuals and communities is to remove oppressive systems that serve as barriers of progress. As with Gov. Hochul, I believe once a person has served their time rehabilitation begins with opportunity! This bill will help fight against poverty and increase labor equity in our great Empire State!”

Director of the Incarcerated Gender Violence Survivors Initiative at Sanctuary for Families Ross Kramer said, “The Clean Slate Act demonstrates that New York State believes in second chances. It means that people will not be defined forever by the mistakes they’ve made, or by their interactions with the criminal justice system. Going forward, this legislation can provide life changing opportunities - education, housing, jobs - to countless criminalized survivors of gender-based violence who only want to better themselves and contribute to their families and their communities.”

Assemblymember Brian A. Cunningham said, “If you did the time, you should not be penalized twice for committing the crime. The Clean Slate Act ensures formerly incarcerated individuals who have demonstrated change have the same opportunity for gainful employment as any other New Yorker. Removing barriers to employment ensures those returning home have a clean slate for a better future, making our communities safer and our economy more robust.”

Mayor-Elect & City Councilmember Robert Cantelmo, City of Ithaca said, "By signing Clean Slate legislation, Governor Hochul continues to demonstrate her clear commitment to rehabilitation and justice for those individuals who have paid their debt to society. By promoting successful reentry, this legislation will help break the cycle of poverty and reduce recidivism. I thank Governor Hochul, Senator Myrie, and Assemblymember Cruz for their leadership on this issue."

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stoke said, "Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing the Clean Slate Act. Business leaders, law enforcement and criminal justice advocates statewide all agree that this a common sense measure positioned to increase access to employment, education, and housing for thousands of returning citizens. It will help employers fill vacant positions and improve their bottom line, stabilize families, households and communities. This is a great win for all of New York State."

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said, “The passage of the Clean Slate Act is a tremendous step towards giving formerly incarcerated New Yorkers a fair second chance. After years of advocacy, Governor Hochul’s signing the Clean Slate Act into law opens up a lifetime of opportunities for about two million people in New York. Thank you to Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz for passing this legislation and to all the advocates who fought for this hard-won justice.”

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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Translations

الترجمة إلى العربية
বাংলা অনুবাদ
Traduction en français
Tradiksyon kreyòl ayisyen
Traduzione italiana
Polskie tłumaczenie
Перевод на русский язык
Traducción al español
پیلے رنگ سے نمایاں کردہ ٹیکسٹ
אידישע איבערטייטשונג