The records of convicted felons in New York will now be sealed after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Clean State Act on Thursday.
The controversial proposal would seal an old one criminal records as long as the perpetrators stay out of trouble for a certain number of years.
Under the new law in New York, a person’s felony records will be sealed eight years after a conviction or release from prison; three years for a felony.
Sex crimes and most Class A felonies, such as kidnapping or terrorism, will not be eligible for the program. The bill excludes class A felonies for drug possession.
FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR CHOOSES ‘CLEAN’ STATE BILL THAT SEALS CRIMINAL RECORDS: ONLY WORKS ‘IN THEORY’
While signing the controversial law, Governor Hochul hailed the program for its potential to fight rising crime.
“The best crime-fighting tool is a well-paying job,” Hochul said at the Brooklyn Museum Thursday morning. “That’s why I support giving New Yorkers a clean slate after they’ve paid their debt to society and gone years without a further offense.”
Melinda Agnew of the Center for a Community Alternative said the legislation would change lives.
“Twenty-six years after successfully completing my sentence, despite all that I have accomplished, I continue to have doors closed to me,” Agnew said.
The law, which will take effect in a year, would still allow law enforcement, prosecutors, the Department of Education, courts and others to access offender records.
HOCHUL SAYS NEW YORK TO INVEST IN 3 OFFSHORE WIND PROJECTS
“I negotiated a compromise that protects public safety and increases economic opportunity, and the final Clean Act will help New Yorkers gain access to jobs and housing while allowing police, prosecutors and school officials to protect their communities,” Hochul said .
The governor said the law hopes to address the worker shortage plaguing New York.
“And as our state faces a labor shortage, with more than 450,000 open jobs right now, this new law will help businesses find more workers to help them grow, expand and thrive.” , Hochul said.
The bill passed state lawmakers last June on a party-line vote.
Former New York Democratic Gov. David Paterson condemned the law, saying that while he thought the “intent” was positive, he believed the measure was flawed.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“In theory it works. But one of the problems we have in the state right now is that there are people arrested 40, 50, 60 times. When something like this happens, there can never be a clean slate because they’ve never been more than six months from their previous conviction,” he said on WABC 770 AM’s “Cats Roundtable” radio show in June.
Gov. Hochul’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Yael Halon contributed to this report.