State lawmakers go home; leave several bills on the table
Negotiations over a criminal justice reform bill and an MTA bill fell apart as the legislative session in Albany came to close late June 10, despite rumors that a deal had been reached earlier that same day. The Clean Slate bill would have sealed the records of those who have been incarcerated after a certain period of time. Advocates argue the measure would help these individuals secure employment and find housing. But there was bi-partisan hesitance to approve the bill, with some lawmakers saying the measure would prevent background checks on special education teachers and those who work with people with disabilities. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins did not rule out the possibility that lawmakers could reach a deal and return in the summer to pass the Clean Slate bill. “Nothing is completely dead,” Stewart-Cousins said. The “Less is More” bill did pass both the Senate and Assembly. The legislation will eliminate most technical violations that might send someone back to prison, such as showing up late to meet with parole officers. It also allows earned time credit for periods without violations. Numerous items were left unresolved including the New York Health Act, which would provide universal health care coverage, the Climate and Community Investment Act, and a bill that would allow restaurants to continue to serve alcohol-to-go. The Elder Parole and the Fair and Timely Parole bills also did not make it through. Both will likely have to wait for action until the start of the 2022 legislative year, in January.