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O’Mara Warns: The Clean Slate Bill Is No Good

April 25, 2022

State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) today joined several of his Senate Republican colleagues on the Senate Codes Committee to sound the alarm on the latest pro-criminal policies being advanced by the Senate’s Democrat majority in Albany.

In today’s committee meeting, Senate Democrats approved two pieces of legislation that would erase criminal records from public view and provide no protections for victims or law-abiding New Yorkers. The so-called “Clean Slate” measure (S1553C) would seal felony records seven years after a sentence is complete and after three years for misdemeanors. A second bill (S5518A) would create an “Office of Expungement” within the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) specifically to help facilitate the sealing and expungement of criminal convictions.

O’Mara said, “Another day in Albany, another set of pro-criminal policies pushed by one-party rule. New York is facing a crime crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. The crisis, caused by Democrats’ cashless bail and other soft-on-crime policies, could be stopped today if they stopped pushing a radical, pro-criminal agenda. Today’s actions once again prove that Democrats care more about protecting violent felons and dangerous individuals than they do victims and law-abiding New Yorkers.”

O’Mara joined Senators Anthony Palumbo, ranking Republican on the Codes Committee, Fred Akshar and Patrick Gallivan voting against the legislation.

A new Siena College poll out today shows that New Yorkers view crime as the most important issue confronting the state.

In 2019, Senate Democrats completely reversed years of public safety progress by turning the state criminal justice system on its head. For years, the passage of dangerous cashless bail laws, discovery law changes, parole “reforms,” and other pro-criminal policies has become commonplace in Albany.

Senate Republican action sounding the alarm again today builds upon the conference’s continuous calls to restore public safety in New York. Their public protection plan, part of a Take Back New York agenda released earlier this year, includes:

Protecting Those Who Protect Us:

● Invest in law enforcement;

● Provide them with the support they need to make our communities safe and serve those in need; and

● Fight Democrat efforts to demonize and “Defund the Police.”

Rejecting Dangerous “Reforms” like Cashless Bail:

● End cashless bail, restore judicial discretion and reject dangerous Democrat proposals to erase criminal records;

● Require state agencies to be transparent about the effects of public safety policies; and

● Fix unworking discovery and “speedy trial” laws that have turned our justice system into a revolving door for repeat and violent offenders.

Reforming the Broken Parole System:

● Recenter the Parole process around the protection and rights of crime victims and their families;

● Ensure that cop-killers, serial killers, child killers, and other dangerous murderers can NEVER be released; and

● Reject dangerous Democrat proposals to weaken the Parole System.

Passing a Victims’ Justice Agenda:

● Heighten penalties for violent and repeat offenders, as well as hate crimes;

● Invest in proven mental health, addiction, homeless, and victims’ programs and services; and

● Strengthen and make Kendra’s Law permanent, to ensure that those struggling with mental illness get the help they need.

Today’s action in the Codes Committee comes after Senate Democrats recently approved a new state budget that spends millions of taxpayer dollars to fund free college tuition for prison inmates. Their budget also failed to repeal New York’s disastrous cashless bail law, and failed to empower judges with the ability to consider an individual’s “dangerousness” in determining bail.

Albany Democrats’ advancement of their pro-criminal legislation also comes during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, recognized since 1981 under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. The week is dedicated to learn about victimization and the effect it has on individuals, families, friends and the community, and to promote laws, policies, and programs to help victims of crime.