November 27, 2023 | Industry News

Clean Slate Act Signed in New York: What CRAs Should Know

The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park... Yep, I’m talking about the one and only New York! A state known for finance, thrilling adventures, and so much more. You can see things like the “Big Apple”, “Wall Street”, and visit the majestic Niagara Falls and the serene Adirondacks, where you can embark on the breathtaking "90 Miler" canoe expedition in the largest state park in the U.S. So many things to see and do in this wonderful state.

Adding to the long list of interesting things in New York, the state has now embraced the Clean Slate movement. Governor Kathy Hochul signed the official endorsement of Senate Bill S.7551A/A.1029C on November 16, 2023, signaling the state's commitment to providing a fresh start for countless job seekers. The legislation facilitates the automatic sealing of records under specific conditions, adding New York to a growing list of states, including Michigan, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and more.

A notable feature of the New York Clean Slate law is that it is one of the more gracious regarding eligibility time. Records of individuals with eligible misdemeanor convictions will be sealed after three years, and those with certain felony convictions, after eight years post-release from incarceration. The law, effective November 16th, 2024, grants the New York State Office of Court Administration up to three years to establish the necessary processes for identifying and sealing all eligible records.

Click here to view S.7551A/A.1029C, or check out this article on the Governor’s page to read more about this topic.

Of course, this change will inevitably impact those who conduct criminal background checks in New York as it brings forth key changes to the way Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) handle sealed records. The good news is that with the act slated to begin in November 2024, background screening companies and CRAs have plenty of time to review and prepare for the changes to come. Let's hope that New York's implementation process will be smoother than Michigan's!

What CRAs Should Keep in Mind

As New York prepares to implement these reforms, it is essential that CRAs familiarize themselves with the amended legislation and update their systems accordingly. This proactive step ensures compliance and the provision of accurate consumer reports. Staying abreast of developments within New York's courts and the New York Office of Court Administration (NYOCA) is also crucial for understanding how and who will control the audit and public access.

Our on-demand webinar, “Navigate Clean Slate with Pam Devata and Vince Pascarella” is a great resource to get insight from subject matter experts on how CRAs like yours can navigate the evolving Clean Slate Movement. You can also check out our Clean Slate Movement Hub for additional helpful resources.

If you have questions regarding this change or any questions about conducting background checks in New York, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts.

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