Two central New York lawmakers were joined by two state senate hopefuls, along with several members of law enforcement in announcing a bill that would repeal controversial bail reform legislation enacted in 2019.

The two sitting assembly members, Republican John Salka and Democrat Marianne Buttenschon say the move to eliminate bail in most cases and simply let loose suspected criminals, some facing accused of serious crimes, compromises both crime victims and public safety overall.

The bill they are proposing would return discretion to judges in determining bail, and would also eliminate the 'cash bail' system.

“By introduction of our bill to repeal the disastrous Bail Reform signed into law last year by the governor, we hope to make our communities safer. We also hope it will address the inequities in the cash bail system while giving our duly elected judges the discretion they should have in determining how one charged in a crime is dealt with,'' Salka says.

“In the months since the bail reform statute went into effect, my office has been contacted by many residents who are concerned about the process of the bail reform statute.  It has been made clear that the current version of the law does not provide enough judicial discretion and omits offenses to ensure public safety.  The bail reform statute must be modified to significantly amend concerns about public safety and security and to protect crime victims. I appreciate my colleagues considering this change, as I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation with Assemblyman Salka. I will continue to advocate for common sense approaches to addressing the safety concerns caused by bail reform,'' said Buttenschon.

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When Governor Cuomo first signed Bail Reform into law in 2019, judges were prohibited from holding suspects on bail for most all crimes accept violent felonies. This year, the state made an adjustment to the law to allow those charged with the following crimes to be jailed, pending bail, according to the Gothamist:

  1. Burglary in the second degree (felony) when charged with entering the living area of a home

  2. Sex trafficking or sex trafficking of a child (felonies)

  3. Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third or fourth degree (felonies)

  4. Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child (felony)

  5. Any crime that is alleged to have caused the death of another person

  6. Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation (misdemeanor), strangulation in the second degree (felony) or unlawful imprisonment in the first degree (felony) when committed against a member of the defendant’s family or household

  7. Vehicular assault in the first degree and aggravated vehicular assault (felonies)

  8. Assault in the third degree (misdemeanor) and arson in the third degree (felony) when charged as a hate crime

  9. Aggravated assault upon a person less than 11 years old and criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds (felonies)

  10. Grand larceny in the first degreeenterprise corruption and money laundering in the first degree (felonies)

  11. Failure to register as a sex offender (felony) or endangering the welfare of a child (misdemeanor) when one is designated a level three sex offender

  12. Bail jumping in the third (misdemeanor), second (felony) or first degree (felony) or escape in the third (misdemeanor), second (felony) or first degree (felony)

  13. Any felony offense committed while serving a sentence of probation or while released to post-release supervision

  14. Any felony committed by a “persistent felony offender”

  15. Any felony or class A misdemeanor involving harm to an identifiable person or property committed while charges are pending on another felony or class A misdemeanor involving harm to an identifiable person or property

At Wednesday's press conference announcing the bill to repeal Bail Reform - while also eliminating cash bai -, Salka and Buttenschon were joined by current Madison County ADA Sam Rogers, also a candidate for the 53rd Senate District, and Peter Oberacker, a candidate in the 51st Senate District, who is currently an Oswego County legislator.

And many CNY law enforcement officials attended in a show of supports for the bill, including, Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood, Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, Oswego County Undersheriff Toomey, Former Herkimer County Sheriff Chris Farber, Former Madison County Undersheriff Doug Bailey, representatives of the Canastota, Oneida City and Chittenango police departments.

Oneida and Madison County District Attorneys Scott McNamara and Willam Gabor are also supporting the change.

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