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Politics

Reilly and Tannousis React After Democrats Block Efforts to Restore Public Safety in NY

ALBANY, NY –  According to New York State Republicans, this week, during a meeting of the Assembly Codes Committee, “Democrat lawmakers doubled down on their soft-on-crime agenda by stonewalling efforts by Republican lawmakers to advance legislation that would restore and strengthen public safety across New York.”

During the hour-long meeting of the Assembly Codes Committee, exactly 50 bills introduced by Republican lawmakers were set aside without consideration and many without discussion. Among those bills were several introduced or sponsored by Assemblymen Michael Reilly (R-Staten Island) and Michael Tannousis (R-Staten

Island/South Brooklyn), including:

➢ A. 6933 (Tannousis) – Restores judicial discretion relating to bail reform; Provides that when the defendant is charged with a felony, the court shall request of the applicable county pre-trial services agency that a risk and needs assessment be conducted on the eligible defendant for the purpose of determining whether such defendant should be released on the defendant’s own recognizance, released under non-monetary conditions or, where authorized, bail or commit the defendant to the custody of the sheriff.

➢ A. 6926 (Tannousis) – Enacts the ‘Officer Randolph Holder’s Law’ to ensure that diversion programs are available to those most suitable and to provide further protections to the public; Narrows the eligibility requirements for those entering judicial diversion, prohibiting those who have more than two prior felony convictions; Requires the court to consider and make a finding of fact on the record, regarding the risk a defendant might pose to public safety; Require the consent of the District Attorney before a defendant is granted entry into a diversion program.

➢ A. 7066 (Barclay) – Adds any misdemeanor and felony offense involving the possession, display, or discharge of a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine-gun, or disguised gun to the list of ‘qualifying offenses’ that authorize a judge to fix bail or remand a defendant to the custody of the sheriff.

➢ A. 4259 (Jensen) – Makes it a Class B violent felony to fire into a crowded space with the intent to harm.

In a statement, it was noted, “Since 2019, Albany Democrats have reversed years of public safety progress through the passage of dangerous cashless bail laws, changes to the discovery law, supposed ‘reforms’ to parole, and other policies that have essentially turned the state’s criminal justice system into a revolving door that empowers violent criminals to

offend repeatedly.”

The statement continues, “the enactment of this soft-on-crime agenda coincides with a rise in violent crime and overall concerns about violent crime, including:

➢ A 44% rise in overall crime across New York City in the first three months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, including a 37% rise in major crimes and a 16% rise in shootings;

➢ Compared to pre-pandemic, 2019 levels, March 2022 in New York City showed vehicle thefts increased by 107%, shootings increased by 69%, grand larceny increased by 26%, felony assault increased by more than 22%, and robberies increased by 37%;

➢ Subway assaults spiked more than 50% between February and March of this year, the highest total in 11 months; and,

➢ A Siena Poll released yesterday shows that New Yorkers’ top concern is crime, and an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers believe that Albany Democrats’ recent window dressing bail reform changes will either increase crime or not reduce it at all.”

This week’s actions come during the beginning of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which has been recognized since 1981 under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. The week is dedicated to learning about victimization and the effect it has on individuals, their loved ones, and communities, as well as to promote the adoption of laws, policies, and programs that help victims of crime.

Further, their decision to set aside A. 4259 (Jensen), which would make it a Class B violent felony to fire into a crowded space with the intent to harm, comes just two weeks following a violent attack in Brooklyn that injured more than 25 individuals, including children. The suspect, Frank James, set off two smoke canisters on a packed subway car and opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd with a Glock 9mm handgun, firing 33 rounds that struck at least 10 individuals.

“What amazes me is that, for almost three years, Albany Democrats have rejected every attempt made by my Republican colleagues and I to correct their dangerous public safety mistakes,” said Assemblyman Michael Reilly, a former Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department. “Whether they like it or not, all 213 members of the New York State Legislature have a responsibility to do what is right by the more than 19 million people who call this state home. Let me be clear, New York’s record-high crime wave is the product of an ill-conceived soft-on-crime agenda that has moved forward because of a small but loud group of ‘activist’ legislators that know nothing about public safety. We cannot and will not get this right until all relevant parties have a seat at the table, regardless of political affiliation and including law enforcement professionals.”

“Yesterday, Albany Democrats shutdown yet another opportunity to fix their abysmally bad bail policy that has handcuffed our judges and made our communities less safe. It should be our judges, not the politicians in Albany, determining on a case-by-case basis what is fair and in the best interest of the public,” said Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, a former prosecutor, who added, “their actions show that they are not serious about fixing the disaster they’ve created, and it proves that the so-called ‘solutions’ they added into this year’s state budget are nothing more than election year window dressing.”

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