State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I – Schenectady) will be reviewing a bill that was introduced by fellow Republican Senator Frank Padavan (Queens) that would fix a dangerous problem created by the Rockefeller drug law reforms enacted as part of the 2009-10 state budget.
Under the budget measure which takes effect on June 8th, courts may seal the criminal records of certain drug felons when they complete drug court, so there will be no record of their conviction when they apply for employment, Senator Farley reported.
"I have supported many laws to require criminal background checks for people that apply for jobs such as day care workers, teachers, bus drivers, nursing homes workers, caring for the disabled and other jobs where people are in a position of trust – as well jobs where people handle money such as working at a bank," Senator Farley said. "However, now, under the Drug Dealer Protection Act that Democrats put in the state budget, judges may seal the criminal records of certain drug felons when they complete drug court, so there will be no record of their conviction when they apply for employment."
Not only could the Courts seal the current conviction without any objection from prosecutors – but up to three prior misdemeanors as well. If this law is left on the books, a criminal could have a total of four convictions hidden from disclosure to potential employers conducting background checks.
This change will effectively wipe the slate clean for drug dealers who undergo criminal background checks when seeking employment in certain positions. This means convicted drug dealers with extensive criminal histories could be taking care of children at a day care center or as a nanny, teaching at a school, or working at a nursing home or some other position of trust.
The record sealing provision would also hide convictions for serious crimes such as burglary, robbery, auto theft, forgery, extortion and more.
The bill repealing the Drug Dealer Protection Act would ensure that people can still know who they are entrusting their family to or their money.