April 5th, 2019 | Sterling

New York Budget 2019-20: Impact on Hiring in the State

The Statue of Liberty, NYC

The New York State legislature passed the 2019–2020 budget on April 1st, 2019, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the budget into law on Friday, April 12, 2019. The budget and legislation reflect the Governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda, which according to the ny.gov website, “delivers comprehensive provisions to ensure social and economic justice for all” including efforts to reduce the state prison population and help get people with criminal records back to work.

Increase in NY Office of Court Administration (OCA) Fee

One provision in the new budget that will have a significant impact on businesses across the state, as well as any organization hiring people who have lived or worked in New York, is the NY Office of Court Administration (OCA) fee increase for criminal records searches from $65 to $95. This change came into effect on Saturday, April 13, 2019, a day after Governor Cuomo signed the Budget.

Because some counties in New York restrict access to records, the only way to ensure full coverage in the state of NY is to run the OCA statewide search. For smaller businesses especially, this steep fee hike may be cost prohibitive and prevent companies from running the criminal background checks that help keep workplaces safe. The purpose stated for the entire increase of $30 is to fund “indigent defense programs,” the legal services provided to those in the state who cannot afford legal representation.

Other aspects of the 2019 – 2020 budget that may impact businesses include:

Comprehensive Re-entry Package to Improve Outcomes for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

For individuals with criminal convictions, successful reintegration into society remains a challenge. Provisions to eliminate blanket statutory bans on occupational licenses, remove certain driver license suspensions, prevent the release of mugshots unrelated to specific law enforcement purposes, and modernize criminal history reporting to prevent past arrest information from being used in certain civil purposes that include employment, housing, and licensing were included in the new legislation.

Undisposed or Pending Cases Inaccessible in Criminal Record Searches

Under the new law, certain undisposed cases will no longer be reported. Prior to this change, criminal actions or proceedings, such as arrests or warrants for which there was no record of conviction, imposition of sentence, or other final disposition were included and reported by the OCA in criminal records searches. The NY OCA has up to one year to implement the change.

$175M Workforce Investment

This investment is intended to support strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, expand apprenticeships, address the long-term needs of growing industries, and protect vulnerable sections of society.

We will regularly update additional details over the coming weeks, and Sterling’s in-house experts will continue to track and provide unique insights that keep you updated.

Do you have more questions? We would love to hear from you! Contact us to learn more.



This copy has been updated on April 16, 2019.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.