Albany, N.Y., January 8—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) today criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo for failing in his 2020 State of the State message to stop the implementation of New York’s new bail reform law.
“Governor Cuomo had a perfect stage to highlight the new bail reform law as the ongoing public safety disaster that it is and at least call for immediate actions to ensure that New Yorkers throughout this state are no longer threatened by a bad law,” said O’Mara. “Not a day goes by without another story of another dangerous criminal being set free. Governor Cuomo and the Democrats responsible for a bad and dangerous law refuse to heed the warning signs. How long will they wait? It is a dangerous and disturbing trend of over rolling over backwards for criminals to radically redefine criminal justice in New York State at the expense of victims and their families and loved ones, communities and neighborhoods, and taxpayers.”
[Watch Senator O'Mara's reaction following the governor's address HERE]
At the start of the 2020 legislative session, O’Mara again called on Cuomo and the Democrat leaders of the State Legislature to immediately delay the implementation of the law that took effect on January 1st.
O’Mara, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “These so-called ‘reforms’ are nothing more than unlocking the cell blocks and sending thousands of potentially dangerous criminals back into our communities and neighborhoods, day after day, with no safeguards.”
Throughout the past year, O’Mara has joined legislative colleagues, law enforcement agencies, county district attorneys, and many others on the front lines of fighting crime locally and throughout New York State calling for delaying the start of the new law. He is currently co-sponsoring legislation (S.6853) calling for a one-year moratorium on the implementation of the new laws so that statewide public hearings can be held on the measures.
The Democrat leader of the State Senate, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), and other leading Democrats do not support a delay. O’Mara said that in recent days advocates of the new law have started speaking out against making any changes to it at all.
“It is clear that bail reform as it stands puts public safety at risk. We hear daily from the men and women on the front lines of law enforcement in our communities that the law is unworkable and jeopardizes public safety,” said O’Mara. “Democrats keep shrugging off the warnings and that’s irresponsible, to say the least.”
The actions, pushed by Cuomo and legislative Democrats, have raised alarms throughout New York’s law enforcement community. Opponents, including O’Mara, have continued to voice opposition. Among other provisions, the new law eliminates cash bail and pretrial detention for nearly all misdemeanors and nonviolent felony cases, resulting in the mandatory release of 90% of those arrested, regardless of their criminal history.
O’Mara charged that it is creating a system of criminal justice in New York State that releases violent criminals back into the community without supervision and fully capable of threatening their victims, the victim’s family members, trial witnesses, and others.