Clean Slate Act resolution to receive second Schenectady council vote


SCHENECTADY — After the Schenectady City Council ended up deadlocked in January on a measure to support a proposed state law that would seal criminal conviction records of formerly incarcerated individuals, the council will vote on the matter a second time on Feb. 13.

During the council’s meeting on Jan. 23, a resolution to support the Clean Slate Act failed to pass when the board voted 3-3 on the measure, with Board President Marion Porterfield and City Councilmembers Carl Williams and Damonni Farley supporting the resolution and councilmembers John Polimeni, Carmel Patrick and Doreen Ditoro opposing the resolution.

City Councilman John Mootooveren was absent from the January meeting, but in the aftermath of the deadlocked vote noted that he was in support of the resolution.

During the council’s Government Operations Committee meeting, Williams brought the item back to the board, with the committee subsequently sending the proposed resolution to the board for a second full vote.

On Tuesday, Mootooveren reiterated that he plans to support the resolution when it is on the council agenda on Feb. 13.

The Clean Slate Act, which would automatically seal the records of state prisoners who have finished their sentences and completed their probation and parole and have no subsequent convictions, was passed by the state Senate in June but has yet to receive a vote in the state Assembly.

The state legislation would seal the records of former incarcerated individuals convicted of felonies seven years from their sentencing and three years for misdemeanors, excluding any time they spent in prison.

Williams noted that Ditoro, who was absent for Monday’s meeting, had raised concerns at the Jan. 23 session about supporting a proposed law that could be changed before being adopted by state representatives.

“I just wanted to make it abundantly clear that putting forward this declaration of support, it would be tied to what this text is currently at this date,” Williams said during the meeting.

Following Monday’s meeting, Williams said he believed the resolution should receive a vote in front of a full board.

“I wanted to make sure all of the council members had an opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter,” he said. “Moving forward, it’s just to make sure that we truly have a full council voting on this matter.”

In September, the Albany City Council passed a resolution in support of the proposed state law, with the cities of Poughkeepsie and Hudson among the municipalities also backing the bill.

Porterfield said she believes the measure deserves a full board vote.

“I’m glad that it came back,” she said following Monday’s meeting. “Also I want to remind people that we passed and agreed to have housing for people that are coming out of incarceration within certain neighborhoods and that was agreed upon by the entire council. So I find it interesting that when this is just another opportunity for people who have been formerly incarcerated to have a chance to come back to society and actually give back to the community, I don’t understand why there’s a difference. I’m glad that it went forward.”

Categories: News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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