The state budget passed last month includes a new law that will put our children, the elderly and other vulnerable New Yorkers at great risk. I voted against the budget measure which will allow courts to 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.
This means that 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 at some other position of trust.
And this new law is not just for drug offenses, but rather the record sealing provision would hide convictions for serious other crimes such as burglary, robbery, auto theft, forgery, extortion and more.
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 home workers, caregivers for the disabled and other jobs in which people are in a position of trust or are handling other people’s money such as in a bank. This new law would hide the criminal records of many ex-convicts from potential employers.
The law will take effect June 8th unless can we stop it. I am the co-sponsor of legislation to repeal this law and keep criminal records from being hidden.
I am calling on the Senate and Assembly to pass the bill as soon as possible and the Governor should sign it into law. The public’s right to know and right to be protected must come before the rights of criminals.