Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) joined his Minority Conference colleagues in the rollout of the ‘Restore Order Anti-Crime Initiative’. Assembly Minority members are presenting this plan at a time when violence has risen across New York state. Major cities across the state have seen a rise in crime in the first four months of 2021 compared to 2020, such as New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. New York City has seen a 17% increase in murders along with an 83% increase in shooting incidents. Homicides are up 50% in Syracuse and a staggering 100% in Rochester. In our state capital, Albany, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies are all up over 15%.
The 2019 dangerous bail and discovery laws advanced by the Assembly and Senate Majority and the Cuomo administration started a dangerous trend and rise in violence. Our local communities were flooded with criminals violating the law and being released back into the community repeatedly. Policies like these were advanced and continue to be advanced without engaging important stakeholders like our law enforcement, district attorneys, crime victims and their families.
“Alarmingly, the state parole board continues to irresponsibly release dangerous individuals from prison and back into our communities, including murderers and rapists. The Majorities continue to advocate for reckless parole reform bills while criminals are being released daily. They are now advocating for ‘elder parole,’ which would allow automatic parole hearings if an individual served 15 years of their sentence and reached age 55, regardless of the crime and sentence they received.
“This administration, alongside the Assembly and Senate Majorities, has continued to advance legislation and policies that put the interests of dangerous criminals, including murderers and rapists, ahead of the interests of crime victims, their families and the safety of the public. This is not just misplaced priorities; it is dangerous policy that is compromising the ability of our law enforcement officers to do their jobs while jeopardizing public safety.
“At this morning’s press conference, we heard firsthand accounts of how dangerous and reckless the policies out of Albany have been. Those grieving the loss of a loved one pleaded with us to make meaningful reforms to our criminal justice reforms, so no other family must be put through what they have had to endure.
“Our ‘Restore Order’ plan is needed in the state of New York to stop the scourge of unnecessary violence,” said Palmesano.
The ‘Restore Order Anti-Crime Initiative’ will have the following components:
• 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 Democrats 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.
“With these common-sense, but important reforms, we can help to rein in the dangerous increase in violence that we are experiencing in our cities and communities across our state. Many of my colleagues in the Majority have publicly expressed the need to address bail reform. It is my hope that they take the time now to address this with our Conference so violent offenders aren’t allowed back out on the streets to recommit crimes. We need to re-instill confidence in our law enforcement officers, rather than undermine them with dangerous and misplaced policy priorities out of Albany. We need to restore order and public safety back into our local communities to protect our families from dangerous and violent crime,” concluded Palmesano.