Ortt, Republicans in State Leg seek repeal of bail reform, propose ‘Victims’ Justice Agenda’
Press Release, State Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt
ALBANY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, their fellow Republicans, and law enforcement professionals from around the state today called for an immediate restoration to public safety in New York.
“No New Yorker should ever feel unsafe in their homes, neighborhoods, and local communities,” Ortt said. “Regrettably, the radical extremists now running the State Legislature have placed the interests of dangerous criminals above the rights of everyone else, including crime victims, law-abiding citizens, and the dedicated law enforcement professionals who keep our communities safe. The results are painfully clear, and New Yorkers have had enough. Today, the Senate Republican conference will be introducing a hostile amendment that will repeal the discovery and bail reforms that passed in 2019 and 2020. It’s time to restore common sense and public safety to our state now.”
Some of the public safety challenges New York is facing include:
- A 46.7% increase in murders from 2019 to 2020;
- Overall index crime in New York City increased by 21.3% in November 2021, compared with November 2020;
- Hate crime rates in NYC increased 97% from November 2020 to November 2021;
- Firearm related violent crime increased by 28.9% from 2019 to 2020 in New York outside of New York City; and
- According to the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, New York has the highest demand for domestic violence services in the country.
For years, Republicans successfully led the fight to support and fund law enforcement, as well as enact landmark, tough-on-crime policies such as Megan’s Law, Kendra’s Law and many others designed to toughen penalties for violent criminals and sex offenders – and to provide services to those in need.
“The safety of our citizens should be the top priority for anyone who holds public office,” said Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay. “But year after year, Democrats have done everything in their power to undermine our laws, pardon violent criminals, and make it harder for police to protect the communities they serve. Those who supported and celebrated ‘bail reform’ as a means to make the community safe have lost all credibility on issues of law and order. They are responsible for establishing a system that enables crime and ignores criminal behavior, and it’s time to reverse course. Liberals’ platform on criminal justice isn’t simply misguided – it’s actually dangerous.”
The Republicans’ 2022 agenda to restore public safety 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 “Defund the Police.”
Rejecting Dangerous “Reforms” like Cashless Bail:
- End cashless bail, restore judicial discretion and reject proposals like “Clean Slate”;
- Require state agencies to be transparent about the effects of public safety policies; and
- Enact policies that get dangerous individuals off our streets.
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 like “Elder Parole” and “Fair and Timely Parole.”
Passing a Victims’ Justice Agenda:
- Strengthen penalties for violent and repeat offenders, as well as hate crimes;
- Create and support more victims’ services and resources; and
- Invest in proven mental health, addiction, and homeless programs.
“The bail and discovery reforms enacted two years ago have led to record increases in crime in New York State,” said Chief Patrick Phelan, Executive Director of New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. “Judges must have the ability to make decisions about remanding dangerous criminals to jail for the safety of the communities they serve. We hope that the legislature will make common-sense changes during this legislative session. Positive changes to the bail reform agenda are vital to the safety of every New Yorker.”
State Assemblyman Mike Norris of Lockport also issued this statement about repealing bail reform:
“The fact is that since these so-called bail reforms were enacted by the downstate-driven majorities, crimes have significantly gone up all across our state,” Norris said. “Many of these crimes are happening by repeat offenders who should have been held on bail in the first place. A full repeal needs to happen now and judicial discretion must be restored to immediately allow judges the opportunity to determine whether bail is appropriate or not – instead of state law mandating that appearance tickets only be granted for certain offenses. Everyday New Yorkers have and continue to be in danger of becoming victims of criminals who should have been held on bail, and our communities remain at risk so long as these so-called bail reforms remain law.”
Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia issued this statement:
“If we want New York to be a place people want to live, start families and spend their money, it must first and foremost be a safe place. During our governor’s State of the State address, there was a glaring absence of any discussion of the marked rise in violence we’ve seen in our communities all across New York. So putting public safety back on the agenda for the upcoming legislative session is a priority for me and our conference as a whole.”