A00259 Summary:

BILL NO    A00259 

SAME AS    No same as 

SPONSOR    Rozic (MS)

COSPNSR    Roberts, Rivera

MLTSPNSR   Arroyo, Brennan, Gottfried, Perry

Amd S296, Exec L

Expands protections to housing, higher education, and volunteer activity.
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A00259 Actions:

BILL NO    A00259 

01/07/2015 referred to correction
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A00259 Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A00259 Memo:

 BILL NUMBER:  A259

 TITLE OF BILL :  An act to amend the executive law, in relation to
expanding the protections to housing, higher education, and volunteer
activity

 PURPOSE : To amend the Executive Law S 296(16) to expand its
protections to housing, higher education and volunteer activity.

 SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :

Section I of the bill:

* Expands Executive Law S 296(16) to provide that in the domains of
housing, higher education, and volunteer work, decision-makers cannot
ask about or consider sealed arrests and convictions.

* Changes the structure of Executive Law S 296(16) from one long
paragraph that is difficult to read to three paragraphs that track the
provision's three main points, a non-substantive yet important change
designed to enhance the provision's utilization and effectiveness.

* Specifies that decision-makers in the domains of employment,
housing, higher education, and volunteer work are explicitly
prohibited from asking applicants about Juvenile Delinquent
dispositions, a protection that is not currently included in the
Family Court Act's confidentiality provisions.

* Explicitly authorizes applicants to respond negatively to unlawful
inquiries, a change that is necessary to address the reality that in
all domains - including employment - decision-makers continues to use
applications that ask applicants to disclose sealed arrests and
convictions.

*  Expands the current protection against the disclosure and use of
sealed arrests and convictions in credit applications to also include
mortgage applications.

* Prohibits decision-makers from considering sealable (not just
sealed) violation convictions, a change that parallels how the
provision currently treats sealable dispositions favorable to the
accused.

Section II sets forth the effective date.

 JUSTIFICATION : Executive Law S 296(16) has long protected employment
applicants and employees from discrimination based on sealed arrests
or convictions. Such protection recognizes the importance of
employment in promoting a person's successful reintegration into
society as a law abiding citizen after contacts with the criminal
justice system. In this sense, Executive Law S 296(16) is consistent
with New York's goal of promoting the "successful and productive
reentry and reintegration into society" of people who have been
arrested. See Penal Law S 1.05 (6).

Like employment, access to stable housing, higher education, and
volunteer opportunities can be critical to a person's successful
reintegration into the community after an arrest. Yet decision-makers
in all of these domains are increasingly using criminal background
checks which all too often reveal sealed arrests and convictions.
While Executive Law S 296(16) provides that employers cannot rely upon
sealed information in making employment decisions, no similar
protection exist in contexts of housing, higher education, and
volunteer work.


There are also instances in which decision-makers ask questions that
intentionally or inadvertently require applicants to reveal sealed
arrests or convictions. A good illustration of this is the application
for admission to Saint John Fisher College in Rochester, New York,
which asks applicants if they have ever "been charged with a crime
(felony or misdemeanor) in any state or country, the disposition of
which was other than an acquittal or dismissal." This question
seemingly requires the disclosure of a non-criminal convictions that
have been sealed under the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) S 160.55,
criminal arrests that have resulted in a Youthful Offender
adjudication under CPL S 720.35, or a conviction which has been
conditionally sealed under CPL S 160.58. Indeed, since housing, higher
education, and volunteer work are not currently included in Executive
Law S 296(16), some decision-makers in these contexts believe that
they can and should ask applicants about all arrests and convictions,
regardless of whether they have been sealed.

In Short, while Executive Law S 296(16) protects people with sealed
arrests and convictions from discrimination in the context of
employment, no similar protection exists in the contexts of housing,
higher education, and volunteer opportunities, thereby leaving people
susceptible to being discriminated against in important aspects of
their lives. The proposed amendment to Executive Law S 296(16) is
designed to close this gap. In addition, the proposed amendments are
designed to make the very important Executive Law protections in this
subdivision more "user-friendly" and accessible to those who it
governs and protects.

 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :  2014: A07740 (Rozic) - Correction 2013: A07740
(Rozic) - Governmental Operations

 FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE : None.

 EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect ninety days after it
shall have become law.
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A00259 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                          259

                              2015-2016 Regular Sessions

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                      (PREFILED)

                                    January 7, 2015
                                      ___________

       Introduced  by  M.  of  A. ROZIC, ROBERTS, RIVERA, SCARBOROUGH -- Multi-
         Sponsored by -- M. of A.  ARROYO, BRENNAN, GOTTFRIED,  PERRY  --  read
         once and referred to the Committee on Correction

       AN  ACT  to  amend  the  executive  law,  in  relation  to expanding the
         protections to housing, higher education, and volunteer activity

         THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section  1.  Subdivision  16  of  section 296 of the executive law, as
    2  separately amended by section 3 of part N and section 14 of part AAA  of
    3  chapter 56 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows:
    4    16.  (A)  It  shall  be  an  unlawful  discriminatory practice, unless
    5  specifically required or permitted by statute, for any  person,  agency,
    6  bureau,  corporation  or  association, including the state and any poli-
    7  tical subdivision thereof, OR ANY ENTITY SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH  (A)  OF
    8  SUBDIVISION FIVE OF THIS SECTION, OR ANY INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION
    9  AS DEFINED IN SECTION 50.1 OF TITLE 8 OF THE COMPILATION OF CODES, RULES
   10  AND REGULATIONS OF NEW YORK;
   11    (I)  to  make any inquiry about, whether in any form of application or
   12  otherwise, or to act upon adversely  to  the  individual  involved,  any
   13  arrest  or  criminal  accusation  of  such  individual  not then pending
   14  against that individual which was followed  by  a  termination  of  that
   15  criminal action or proceeding in favor of such individual, as defined in
   16  subdivision  two  of  section  160.50  of the criminal procedure law AND
   17  SECTION 375.1 OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT, or by a youthful offender adjudi-
   18  cation, as defined in subdivision one of section 720.35 of the  criminal
   19  procedure  law,  OR BY A JUVENILE DELINQUENCY ADJUDICATION AS DEFINED IN
   20  SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 380.1 OF  THE  FAMILY  COURT  ACT,  or  by  a
   21  conviction for a violation sealed OR SEALABLE pursuant to section 160.55
   22  of the criminal procedure law, or by a conviction which is sealed pursu-
   23  ant to section 160.58 of the criminal procedure law[,];

        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD01736-01-5
       A. 259                              2

    1    (II)  in  connection  with the FOLLOWING MATTERS:  THE licensing[,] OR
    2  employment [or] OF SUCH INDIVIDUAL; THE SELLING, RENTING, OR LEASING  OF
    3  HOUSING  TO  SUCH  INDIVIDUAL,  OR  HIS OR HER TENANCY OR OCCUPANCY; THE
    4  ADMISSION OF SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO ANY COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY, OR OTHER INSTI-
    5  TUTION  OF  HIGHER EDUCATION; THE CONSIDERATION OF SUCH INDIVIDUAL FOR A
    6  VOLUNTEER POSITION, APPRENTICESHIP,  INTERNSHIP  OR  EXTERNSHIP  WHETHER
    7  PAID  OR UNPAID; AND THE providing of credit, A MORTGAGE or insurance to
    8  such individual; [provided]
    9    (B) PROVIDED, further, THAT IN CONNECTION  WITH  ANY  OF  THE  MATTERS
   10  LISTED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (II) OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION that no
   11  person shall be required to divulge information pertaining to any arrest
   12  or  criminal accusation of such individual not then pending against that
   13  individual which was followed by a termination of that  criminal  action
   14  or proceeding in favor of such individual, as defined in subdivision two
   15  of section 160.50 of the criminal procedure law AND SECTION 375.1 OF THE
   16  FAMILY  COURT ACT, or by a youthful offender adjudication, as defined in
   17  subdivision one of section 720.35 of the criminal procedure law, OR BY A
   18  JUVENILE DELINQUENCY ADJUDICATION  AS  DEFINED  IN  SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF
   19  SECTION  380.1  OF  THE  FAMILY  COURT  ACT,  or  by  a conviction for a
   20  violation sealed OR SEALABLE pursuant to section 160.55 of the  criminal
   21  procedure  law,  or  by a conviction which is sealed pursuant to section
   22  160.58 of the criminal procedure law. IN THE EVENT THAT AN ENTITY LISTED
   23  IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION MAKES  A  PROHIBITED  INQUIRY,  THE
   24  AFFECTED PERSON SHALL BE PERMITTED TO RESPOND IN THE NEGATIVE.
   25    (C)  The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to the licens-
   26  ing activities of governmental bodies in relation to the  regulation  of
   27  guns, firearms and other deadly weapons or in relation to an application
   28  for  employment  as a police officer or peace officer as those terms are
   29  defined in subdivisions thirty-three and thirty-four of section 1.20  of
   30  the criminal procedure law; provided further that the provisions of this
   31  subdivision  shall not apply to an application for employment or member-
   32  ship in any law enforcement agency with respect to any arrest or  crimi-
   33  nal  accusation  which was followed by a youthful offender adjudication,
   34  as defined in subdivision one of section 720.35 of the  criminal  proce-
   35  dure  law, or by a conviction for a violation sealed pursuant to section
   36  160.55 of the criminal procedure law, or by a conviction which is sealed
   37  pursuant to section 160.58 of the criminal procedure law.
   38    S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
   39  have become a law.
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