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Asian Wave Alliance Urges Governor Hochul to Veto the Dangerous Clean Slate A1029C


June 19, 2023 (New York, NY) Asian Wave Alliance is outraged at the passing of the Clean Slate bill by the NYS Senate and Assembly on Jun 9, 2023. Governor Hochul signaled her support before the votes so this will likely be signed into law when delivered to her desk. We are strongly urging Governor Hochul to change her stance and veto this bill.

Clean Slate was introduced by Senator Myrie and Assembly Member Cruz in 2019 to expunge the criminal records automatically after 3 years for misdemeanors and 8 years for felonies, after the criminal served their sentence. These records containing criminal evidence, photographs, fingerprints, court records and decisions would be sealed; as if the crime never happened. The opposition to Clean Slate resulted in amendments to exempt sex crimes and murders (Class A felonies) from being automatically sealed and provisions were added this year to allow the courts, federal and state law enforcement, gun licensing agencies and employers in certain industries. The fact that provisions were added for Class A felonies shows that Clean Slate undermines criminal investigations and is dangerous to the general public. It is an outrage that all other violent felonies such as aggravated assaults, kidnapping, reckless assault of a child, arson, etc. are still included.

Most criminals will plea down to a lower offense than the crime they actually commit. Their felonies and misdemeanors – their criminal record — is non-existent to the public – whether it is to work in a daycare or school or senior centers or to rent a place in a multi-family home or apartments; these employers and homeowners would not be able to evaluate potential risks. One reason cited in support of Clean Slate was that NY would tap into 2.2M of potential workforce with a criminal history. There is no law to require that; these employers could decide on their own not to do criminal checks on any applicant. Passage of this bill is to blindfold law abiding citizens into taking on unknown risks and potential liabilities.

Here is a partial list of crimes that will be expunged if Clean Slate is signed by Governor Hochul (source: https://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/bviolent_felonies.php): Gang assault in the first degree, assault in the first degree, aggravated assault upon a police officer or a peace officer, manslaughter in the first degree, kidnapping in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree, criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree.

We agree that people make mistakes that should be forgiven; low-level, non-violent offenses such as traffic violations or shoplifting should not haunt someone for life. However, Asian Wave Alliance has grave concerns for the dangers of automatically wiping out violent criminal records, especially when there is already a pathway for convicted felons to have their records sealed. Having a criminal record and the negative repercussions for a long time is a deterrent to committing crimes. With bail reform and now Clean Slate, Albany continues making lives better for criminals and less safe for law-abiding New Yorkers and their families.

The senators and assembly members serving Asian communities: Senators Iwen Chu, John Liu, Brian Kavanagh, Toby Stavisky and Assembly members Ron Kim, Grace Lee, Daniel Rosenthal, William Colton, and Andrew Hevesi all voted in support of Clean Slate. They voted to make criminals' lives better, and in turn, endangering the lives of their constituents.

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