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State GOP Establishes ‘Repeal Bail Reform’ Task Force

Efforts by members of the New York State Legislature to revise or repeal criminal justice reform measures that went into effect this year have taken their next step forward.

The New York State Senate Republican Conference on Wednesday announced it has established a statewide “Repeal Bail Reform Task Force.” The group, which will be chaired by state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, will hold round table talks throughout the state “to collect testimony from law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victims, local leaders and the public who were shut out from publicly commenting before Democrats forced dangerous criminal justice reform changes upon the state,” the GOP conference said in a news release.

New York’s bail law eliminates pretrial detention and money bail for the vast majority of misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases. The law also requires release for other felonies — second-degree burglary and second-degree robbery.

The law still requires cash bail for major drug trafficking offenses, sex offenses, criminal contempt in a domestic violence case, witness tampering or intimidation and certain offenses against children.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimates the new law will keep about 90% of defendants out of jail at least until their case gets resolved. However, reform critics argue the changes have jeopardized public safety.

State Senators Patrick Gallivan and Sue Serino will serve as co-chairs of the task force, which will convene Feb. 6 in Buffalo with upcoming round tables on Long Island, and in the Hudson Valley and Syracuse.

“Dangerous pro-criminal bail reform has made a mockery of the justice system, allowing violent criminals, serial bank robbers, and even killers to freely parade the streets,” said state Sen. Republican Leader John J. Flanagan. “This is not justice. It is an insult to crime victims and their families, to the public and to every person who serves to uphold our law. The Senate Republican Repeal Bail Reform Task Force will listen to the facts about how this is impacting communities as we continue to fight to repeal this disastrous law.”

Added Borrello: “There is no band aid or half-measure that can stop the horrible impact of this irresponsible ‘reform.’ The voices of law enforcement, victim advocates, local government officials, and victims themselves, who have been ignored, will now be heard.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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