Senator O’Mara’s Weekly Column “From the Capitol” ~ for the week of April 4, 2022 ~ “Law and order continues to take a back seat”


We must stand up, speak out, and fight the pro-criminal, anti-police mentality and policies that continue to lead New York State in a dangerous direction, that continue to embolden criminals, and that continue to make far too many less safe communities for everyday, law-abiding citizens and families.

Senator O’Mara offers his weekly perspective on many key challenges and issues facing the Legislative Assembly, as well as legislative actions, local initiatives, state programs and policies, and more. Stop by every Monday for Senator O’Mara’s latest column…

This week, “Law and order continue to take a back seat”

As this column is being written, we don’t know the final details of a 2022-2023 state budget still being negotiated by Governor Kathy Hochul and Democratic leaders in the Legislative Assembly.

We know he will end up spending a ton of taxpayer dollars. In fact, it will be the largest state budget in New York history.

We know it will not provide enough tax relief, mandate relief, or regulatory relief.

At the start of this legislative session, I and my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly Republican conferences warned that public safety and security must take center stage this year, that we have reached a point where too many New Yorkers in too many communities just don’t feel safe.

Most reasonable people would agree that public safety is a basic responsibility and that the state government fails in it. The latest evidence has come in a new poll from Siena College showing that:

— Nearly 60% of voters in the state think the bail reform law approved by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo and House Democrats in 2019 was bad for New York ;

— About two-thirds of voters think bail reform has led to an increase in crime across the state; and

— More than 80 percent of voters think judges should have more latitude to set bail based on the seriousness of the crimes committed and based on a defendant’s criminal history.

While Senate and House Republicans have repeatedly underscored all of the above — and more — since the bail reform bill was passed in 2019, that’s not the thought of this. fully Democratic-controlled, one-party state government.

Of course, Governor Hochul, clearly seeing the writing on the wall of public opinion, recently launched a 10-point plan to change the bail reform disaster by offering to fix at least some of what must be repaired. She said she wanted this to be included in the final budget this year.

His plan fell flat when it landed on the desks of legislative Democrats. Some leading Democrats have even gone so far as to criticize their governor for putting bail reform on the table in budget negotiations. A Senate Democrat pointed out that Hochul “injected something (bail reform) into the budget conversation that I don’t think belongs in the budget conversation.”

Translated: We have no idea if there will be any changes under the new state budget. If Hochul had been serious about genuine reform of the debacle instituted three years ago, she would have included it in her executive budget proposal from the start. At least then, the extreme Democratic majorities in control of the legislature should have negotiated. This is very different from what the Governor is now trying to negotiate after the fact.

Nonetheless, the progressive pace continues in this state on issues of crime and corrections.

Just days ago, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) announced that at least 8,000 parolees — that’s right, at least eight thousand — would be released from DOCCS oversight by the end of March following a new “Less Is More” law approved last September.

The Less is More Act ignores so-called “technical” violations by the parolee while on parole – such as failing a drug test, association with criminals, lack of parole meetings and curfew violations – when calculating the shortened parole date.

Yes, this new law also met with opposition from Senate and House Republicans.

In addition to all of this, the New York State Correctional Officers Union has called on Governor Hochul to suspend implementation of another recently approved law restricting the ability of prison officials to discipline the most vulnerable inmates. violent and vicious by separating them from the general prison population. Prison officers say the new law, known as the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, will put officers at even greater risk of violence within a prison system where inmate attacks on prison staff have reached record numbers in 2021 and are set to be even more severe this year.

I am not aware of any response from Governor Hochul to the officers’ concerns.

In other words, for the foreseeable future, new laws already enacted (and under consideration) by this governor and a state legislature under the control of a Democratic party (with a largely indented party wing, far-left and far left firmly entrenched at the highest levels of decision-making) has transformed this state’s criminal justice system into something that many ordinary citizens simply do not recognize or understand.

Many New Yorkers are well aware that the increase in crime and violence, and the weakening of public safety in so many of our cities and communities are the result of the pro-crime policies enacted and pushed at the state level. ‘State.

Albany Democrats have emboldened the criminal element throughout that state through failed bail reform, lenient parole policies, an out-of-control parole board, a terrible lack of attention to prison security, submission to the “defund the police” movement, and an overall negligent approach to criminal justice.

Last week, I again joined Senate and House Republicans, as well as law enforcement officials, on Capitol Hill in renewing our call to do the exact opposite. We believe it is high time to strengthen public safety in this state.

Protecting victims of crime must be part of an ongoing criminal justice agenda to restore common sense and public safety in New York City.

We will continue to advance legislation to better protect state corrections officers and prison employees by taking more aggressive action to address rising violence in state prisons. Inmate attacks on correctional officers, including numerous attacks inside Elmira Correctional Facility in recent years, should serve as a stark reminder that action is needed to improve the safety of officers, prison staff, the prisoners themselves and general security inside the walls. of our prisons.

We must stand up, speak out, and fight the pro-criminal, anti-police mentality and policies that continue to lead New York State in a dangerous direction, that continue to embolden criminals, and that continue to make far too many less safe communities for everyday, law-abiding citizens and families.

Public safety cannot continue to take second place to political ideology or political gain.



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