In last years budget, the Assembly passed sweeping bail reforms aimed at promoting fairness and transparency in our justice system, which took effect in January. While these reforms were put in place to ensure everyone is treated equally under the law, it became clear that changes were needed to protect our communities and guarantee the safety of our families. Thats why I fought to ensure the 2020-21 state budget included necessary improvements to last years criminal justice reforms.
This is an issue Ive been working on for several months conferring with the District Attorneys in both Erie and Niagara Counties, talking with Judges, members of the defense bar, and the Family Justice Center. The changes I recommended and fought for were based upon the input I obtained from these various stake holders in the criminal justice system. I believe, with their help, we have found a balance that better protects our community, promotes fairness and transparency, and allows for the smooth administration of justice.
These changes help support law enforcement agencies and provide them with the tools necessary to do their job. They restore the previous discovery standard for traffic infractions and local violations, extend the timeline for district attorneys offices to comply with discovery requirements and provide $40 million to ensure district attorneys can adhere to new criminal justice reforms. But, most importantly, the measure makes much-needed changes to bail reform by significantly expanding the list of crimes that are eligible for cash bail.
Bail reform is a serious and complicated issue, and these amendments are an important step in the right direction. As we move forward, Ill continue working tirelessly with law enforcement officials and experts to protect the safety and security of every Western New Yorker.