Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay and his colleagues in the Minority Conference, joined by crime victim advocates and law enforcement, today unveiled legislation to combat the dramatic rise in violent crime experienced in communities across New York state. The “Restore Order” package of bills attempts to combat serious crime and reverse measures included in the severely flawed criminal justice “reforms” advanced by liberals in 2019. Since liberal, one-party rule has taken hold in Albany, continued policies enabling unchecked criminal behavior while simultaneously undermining law-enforcement agencies have resulted in increases in violence and danger.
“How many more innocent victims are going to be shot, assaulted or killed before we advance a meaningful crime bill to address the egregious shortcomings in our criminal justice system? It’s time for Albany to do something about the horror stories we’re seeing every day. It’s time to advance common-sense measures to Restore Order,” said Leader Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski). “In 2019, Majority lawmakers in New York told us their ‘reforms’ were going to make communities safer. Within three months of enactment, they had to roll back their disastrous bill and they should have kept on rolling. Their record on public safety is clear: The Majority Conference members are not interested in things like law and order or protecting New Yorkers – in fact, they’re offended by it.”
The “Restore Order” package of legislation introduced by Assembly Minority Conference will:
- Restore Judicial Discretion (A.5265, Reilly) – Restores judicial discretion to allow judges the ability to determine whether a violent criminal poses a dangerous threat to the community and can be held without bail.
- Bail for Gun Crimes (A.7066, Barclay) – Removes all gun crimes from the no-bail list of offenses established in 2019.
- Parole Reform (A.5737, Barclay) – Requires a unanimous vote of at least three parole commissioners to grant a prisoner early release. Also allows a majority vote of the Legislature to remove a commissioner from the Parole Board.
- Three Strikes & You’re In (A.5334, Brabenec) – Authorizes life in prison without parole for persistent violent felony offenders.
- Shooting Into Crowds (A.4259, Jensen) – Makes it a Class B violent felony to fire into a crowded space with the intent to harm.
- Additional 5 Years for Possession (A.4762, Mikulin) – Provides for an additional 5-year term of imprisonment for committing a felony while possessing a loaded firearm.
- Bail for Hate Crimes (A.3986, M. Miller) – Makes a “hate crime” a qualified offense for purposes of bail issuance and denying pre-trial.
- Paula’s Law (A.6017, Lawler) – Prevents the parole of anyone who sexually assaults and murders a child under 18 years of age.
“These proposals do what should have been done all along,” said Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda), who has experience working in two separate sheriff’s departments and as a State Deputy Inspector General. “It is incumbent upon us to protect our communities and citizens. The increasing crime rates throughout New York state show how badly true reform is needed to keep violent offenders from repeating their crimes against innocent victims. I stand with my Conference in support of these common-sense solutions to rising violence in our neighborhoods.”
“For far too long have we have been forced by our Majority colleagues to protect criminals, letting them get away with almost everything,” said Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R,C,I,LBT-Glen Head), a former NYPD police officer, detective, EMT supervisor and investigator for the NYC Emergency Medical Service. “In the past year alone, crime has risen drastically across the state. In an effort to fight back, I am pleased to join my colleagues for the ‘Restore Order’ Anti-Crime Initiative to help bring some peace and safety back to our communities. We need to work harder to protect the law-abiding citizens we represent from those who continually break the law and put so many people in danger.”
“As statewide murder and shooting victim rates continue to rise, we must intervene in this public safety crisis,” said Assemblyman Angelo Morinello (R,C,I-Niagara Falls), a Vietnam veteran, lawyer and judge. “In Buffalo alone, murders are up 38 percent, and the number of shooting victims has risen by 88 percent. On the heels of a record-high year in crime, it is imperative we restore a system that ensures the right to a speedy trial, while considering criminal history and level of danger to the public, as well as the restoration of judicial discretion and protection of witnesses.”
“The lawlessness gripping so many of our communities throughout the state is frightening and it must end,” said Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia), a former Rochester City Court Judge who served for ten years on the bench. “The ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ mentality which controls Albany is only empowering criminals. It’s time to return to the rule of law, restore order and protect crime victims.”
“Our colleagues in the Majority are quick to bill their radical changes to our criminal justice system as reform, but what we’ve witnessed over the past year and a half leaves many to wonder just who the reform benefits. Their policies have created what has essentially become a revolving door for criminals to commit crimes repeatedly with little to no repercussions, each time more emboldened to challenge the system and see just how far they can take their heinous acts. The legislation our Conference is highlighting today, including my bill, A.5265, would help restore order to a system that has been consumed by chaos,” said Assemblyman Mike Reilly (R-South Shore), who served in the Army Reserve and as a lieutenant in Brooklyn’s 90th Precinct.
“As a former member of law enforcement, it is disheartening to see the rise in crime across New York state. At every turn, the Majority has let down our brave men and women of law enforcement,” said Assemblyman Joe Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich), a former marine, chief of police and fire chief in the City of Norwich. “That is why I am proud to stand with my Minority member colleagues to support the ‘Restore Order’ Anti-Crime Initiative. We need to address bail reform, we need to restore judicial discretion and make sure violent offenders aren’t put back on our streets. Most importantly we need to assist law enforcement, rather than undermine them.”
“These radical policies have been an utter disaster for communities across New York. New York City has seen a steep increase in murder rates and shootings are up by more than 80 percent. As a prosecutor, I saw firsthand the damage these policies can do. As a legislator, I am committed to fighting to reverse them before it is too late,” said Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R,C-Staten Island/Brooklyn), who has prosecuted many major felony charges as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx DA’s Office.
“Families across the state are being torn apart by violent and dangerous criminals. My son, Sgt. Hason Correa, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Afghanistan War, was murdered by repeat violent felony offenders. These dangerous individuals had proven to be a menace to society, but because of New York’s criminal justice system, which is riddled with flaws, a known murderer is currently walking free amongst us, free to kill again. Now as violent crime spikes in communities across the state, legislative leaders in Albany must act to keep the most dangerous criminals in jail and reform the state’s bail system,” said Madeline Brame, Chairwoman, NYS Victims’ Rights Reform Council.
After a year in which crime reached historically-high levels in cities throughout New York state, 2021 has brought only more danger and violence to communities. Comparing crime rates during the first four months of 2021 over the same period in 2020:
- New York City – Murders have risen nearly 17 percent; shooting incidents are up 83 percent; and the number of shooting victims is up 78 percent.
- Albany – From January 1 to May 30, 2021, there have been 9 shooting fatalities, a 125 percent increase over the same period last year; rapes have increased 15 percent; aggravated assault is up 19 percent; and robberies have risen 16 percent.
- Syracuse – Homicides are up 50 percent.
- Rochester – Homicides are up 100 percent; and the number of shooting victims has increased by 68 percent.
- Buffalo – Murders are up 38 percent; and the number of shooting victims has risen by 88 percent.