(Albany, NY) – Today, bill S.494 sponsored by State Senator Gustavo Rivera passed the New York State Senate. This bill expands the current scope of the law regulating charitable bail organizations, which was sponsored by Senator Rivera and signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2012, by enabling charitable bail organizations to provide greater assistance to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford bail. This bill is sponsored by Assemblymember Michael Blake in the New York State Assembly.
"No one should be forced to sit in jail awaiting trial or plea to a charge they did not commit because they cannot afford bail. This bill will allow charitable bail funds to build on their success and help more New Yorkers avoid spending unnecessary time behind bars while they await trial,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “It will also add to the important criminal justice victories we have already achieved this session and will provide struggling New Yorkers with a fairer alternative while navigating our criminal justice system.”
Bill S494 will expand the scope of the current law on charitable bail organizations by:
1. Reducing the certification fee required by the New York State Department of Financial Services from $1000 to $500
2. Increasing the amount of bail a charitable organization is able to post on behalf of a defendant from $2,000 to $10,000
3. Expanding the types a charges in which a charitable bail organization is able to post bail on behalf of a defendant
4. Removing the regional/geographical restriction for charitable bail organizations so that they can operate in multiple counties.
Watch Senator Rivera's Remarks on S494 here.