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Clean Slate Act Signed by Gov. Hochul

Updated: Apr 19

After years of organizing by directly-impacted leaders, the Clean Slate Act(S7551A /A1029C) was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul on November 16th, 2023. The act goes into effect on November 16th, 2024 and will affect 2.3 million New Yorkers allowing them to finally have the opportunity to thrive.

Reads Victory! Clean Slate New York has been signed by Governor

What Will The Clean Slate Act Do?

In New York State, the Clean Slate Act will automatically seal eligible misdemeanor convictions after three years and felony convictions after eight years giving individuals a second chance, reducing recidivism and allowing them to be active members of their families and communities.

The time starts running on the day someone is sentenced or released from incarceration, whichever is later. During that time, that individual cannot have any other criminal conviction. Once the three- or eight-year period expires, the government will automatically seal the conviction if they:

  • Have no pending criminal charges; and

  • Have completed any probation or parole for that conviction

Under Clean State, convictions should not appear on a background check when trying to obtain housing, education, and most jobs. Sealing does not expunge, or destroy, the records. Sealed convictions will be visible to a lawyer, prosecutors, and the court if someone is arrested again.

The Clean Slate Act will become “effective” on November 16, 2024, one year

after the Governor signed the bill into law. Once effective, the courts and

various agencies will have up to three years to seal eligible conviction records.

Every eligible conviction must be sealed by November 2027.

Are There Any Carve Outs?

The Clean Slate Act applies to one traffic infraction (Driving While Ability

Impaired by Alcohol) and all misdemeanor and felony convictions, except for:

  • Out-of-state or federal convictions

  • Sex offenses

  • Class A felonies, except for drug possession and sale.

Advocating For More

To date, 12 states have passed laws for Clean Slate legislation. Pennsylvania (2018), Utah (2019), New Jersey (2019), Michigan (2020), Connecticut (2020), Delaware (2021), Virginia (2021), Oklahoma (2022), Colorado (2022), California (2022), Minnesota (2023), New York (2023). Additionally, there are active Clean Slate campaigns in many states, and organizations working to build support for future efforts are underway in states

across the country.

The minimum criteria a state law must meet to meet Clean Slate Initiative standards include:

  • Automation of record clearance;

  • Automatic clearance upon eligibility of the record (noting that eligibility varies from state to state);

  • Inclusion of arrest records;

  • Inclusion of misdemeanor records; and,

  • A strong recommendation for laws to include eligibility of at least one felony record.

Who Supported Clean Slate Act in Western New York?

The Western New York Delegation was made up of the following representatives:

  • Timothy M. Kennedy - 63RD Senate District

  • Sean M. Ryan - 61ST Senate District

  • Jonathan Rivera - 149 Assembly District

  • Crystal Peoples-Stokes - 141 Assembly District

The Buffalo Common Council voted unanimously October 5th, 2021 to approve a

resolution, introduced by Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt, which supported the

passage of the Clean Slate Act.

Where Can I Learn More?

Have a question about the law or want to know what Clean Slate means for you? See Clean Slate NY's FAQ or attend a live event or one of Clean Slate NY's monthly live webinars. Want to spread the word about Clean Slate? Download and post a flyer.



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