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Advocacy Update: Governor Hochul Signs Clean Slate Act, a Win for Talent and Businesses

November 16, 2023

In a landmark move, Governor Kathy Hochul has signed the Clean Slate Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that promises second chances to individuals with certain criminal records. This transformative law allows for the sealing of records after specific periods for those who have not been subsequently convicted of additional crimes.

Under the Clean Slate Act, eligible misdemeanor convictions will be sealed after three years of an individual's release, while certain felony convictions will be sealed after eight years. Notably, the Act does not extend to individuals convicted of sex crimes, murder, or other non-drug Class A felonies. Key entities such as law enforcement, prosecutors, the New York State Education Department, and the courts will retain access to all criminal records.

This legislative victory marks a significant win for Greater Rochester Chamber advocacy efforts, as the Clean Slate Act has potential to strengthen the labor pool for businesses seeking diverse talent.

“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.”

Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

Read Governor Hochul's full release here.


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