Republicans in State Legislature again seek bail reform, ‘safer New York’

Posted 23 January 2023 at 5:24 pm

Press Release, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

ALBANY – Senator Tom O’Mara and Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, along with Senator Alexis Weik, Assemblyman Robert Smullen, members of law enforcement, victims’ advocates, and members of the Senate and Assembly Republican Conferences today unveiled a legislative package to Create a Safer New York.

In contrast with Albany One Party Rule’s disastrous pro-criminal “reforms,” these comprehensive policy solutions would support our brave members of law enforcement, fix the state’s broken criminal justice system, crack down on illegal gun crime, and protect victims and innocent New Yorkers.

“As crime is on the rise throughout New York State, our Democratic colleagues in the Legislature continue to double-down on more soft-on-crime policies that will put our communities at greater risk,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt. “Public safety remains a top priority for Senate Republicans, and we will continue to advocate for common-sense proposals to support law enforcement, put victims over criminals, and end the revolving door of our criminal justice system. We cannot have a strong, healthy state without public safety.”

“New Yorkers are not adequately protected under current state law. Qualified judges are prohibited from using basic, common-sense assessments of threat levels posed by the individuals coming before them, and the results have been critically disastrous. We have seen the full measure of what these policies are doing to our communities, and it is abundantly clear we must drastically change course now, before the situation deteriorates any further,” said Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay.

To provide much-needed support to law enforcement, fix the state’s broken criminal justice system, crack down on illegal gun crime, and protect victims and innocent New Yorkers, Republicans proposed:

Support Law Enforcement

  • Creating the SAFER Communities Grant Program to invest in critical investigatory and prosecutorial resources designed to increase case clearance rates for homicide and gun crimes;
  • Repealing HALT to protect our corrections officers; and
  • Allowing the use of familial DNA to give law enforcement more investigatory tools.

Fix the Broken Criminal Justice System

  • Rolling back disastrous bail and discovery laws, and providing for judicial discretion to stop the revolving door in our criminal justice system;
  • Opposing soft-on-crime policies being advanced by the Democratic Majorities, including the so-called “Clean Slate” Act, “Elder Parole,” and others; and
  • Increasing penalties for habitual repeat offenders who commit crimes that harm New Yorkers’ quality of life.

Crack Down on Illegal Gun Crime

  • Reducing the use of illegal firearms with increased funding for gun interdiction efforts;
  • Increasing penalties for crimes committed with stolen firearms, and mandatory consecutive sentencing for crimes involving illegal firearms; and
  • Making any misdemeanor or felony offense involving an illegal firearm bail eligible, and amending Raise the Age to ensure 16- and 17-year-olds charged with certain gun or gang-related crimes are prosecuted as adults.

Protect Victims and Innocent New Yorkers

  • Restricting the release of identifying information in certain cases, and putting in place policies to protect victims’ rights during parole process;
  • Increasing the caps on Office of Victim Services reimbursements for crime victims, and investing in victim support programs; and
  • Authorizing judges to set lifetime orders of protection for certain crimes, such as violent and domestic violence felonies.

The package outlined today is the first in a series of comprehensive proposals that will be put forth by the Republican Conferences this session in order to reduce crime, strengthen public safety, and protect victims and innocent, law-abiding New Yorkers.

Earlier this month, Senate Republicans unveiled the “Rescue New York” 2023 Legislative Agenda, including the creation of a Safer New York. Partly outlined today, the Republican agenda would:

  • Restore common sense to our criminal justice system to prevent crime and protect New Yorkers;
  • Increase efforts and investments to end the opioid and mental health epidemics; and
  • Support and protect our seniors and other vulnerable New Yorkers.

Assemblyman Mike Norris of Lockport issued this statement: “The most basic role of government is to ensure public safety. However, since the passage of the so-called bail reforms in 2019, which I voted against, our state has only become less safe as our judicial system was turned into a revolving door for repeat offenders.

“Instead of deterring criminals, our judges have been handcuffed from serving justice and protecting our communities,” Norris said. “The public is victimized again and again, and daily we see stories in the news of repeat offenders committing atrocities that should have been prevented. Our system is failing, largely because of ‘bail reform.’ This must be corrected, and Albany must act to restore public safety now.”