ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — It was a busy night for lawmakers as they close out this legislative session. Lawmakers were here past two a.m. heading into Friday morning and are expected to pull another all nighter. For hours, they’ve have been debating the Clean Slate Act, which would automatically seal certain criminal records. As far as housing goes, the legislature came up with a plan to address the housing crisis, but the Governor doesn’t approve.
During the budget, the Governor’s housing compact plan was nixed. The legislature’s proposal included the extension of affordable housing program 421-A, the passage of Good Cause Eviction, and a dilapidated apartment repair Program. However, that plan has come to a halt because the Governor is not on board with the proposal.
Republican Senator George Borrello weighed in, “So if my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who stood up and applauded the Governor when she talked about housing in the budget and then changed their tune once they saw the overwhelming negative reaction, now they want to come up with their own plan. Well, they’re gonna have to stay here for another three days if they really want to get it through in the session.”
Another bill kept under the radar until recently, would create a commission to study the effects of slavery on African American New Yorkers. The commission would recommend appropriate solutions including reparations. The bill passed both houses last night after some emotional testimonies. “So that the stateside New York can consider what the proper reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans who’ve contributions have been I ignored and certainly undervalued!” said Democratic Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.
And the Clean Slate Bill is still being debated hours later. It is expected to pass both houses. This would automatically seal criminal records three years after sentencing for misdemeanors and after eight years certain felonies. Advocates of the bill say this would help previously incarcerated people get a job and proper housing. Those opposed say this doesn’t consider the victims. “Once you start giving handouts, rather than hand ups, you start losing that person’s self-awareness, that person then becomes so reliant on government that they find it difficult to move on their own,” said Republican Assembly member Angelo Morinello. That bill would not apply to sex crimes or out of state convictions. We’ll be keeping up updated with latest as session continues.