ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — On July 15, State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and the Senate Republican conference today unveiled a comprehensive package of legislation aimed at protecting crime victims.
The Senate GOP “Victims’ Justice Agenda” seeks to fight back against rising violent crime rates statewide which, O’Mara and other legislators argue, are the result of pro-criminal, anti-police policies being pushed and already enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature’s Democrat majorities.
O’Mara, a member on the Senate Codes and Judiciary committees, said, “Enough is enough and we need to stand up, speak out, and fight against the pro-criminal, anti-police mentality and policies that keep going too far in New York State. Governor Cuomo and the Democrat supermajorities in control of the State Legislature show no signs of letting up in their push for a so-called progressive agenda that only stands to embolden criminals and keep making this state and our communities less safe. We need to enact legislation that puts crime victims and community safety first.”
Safeguarding crime victims is another critical part of an ongoing criminal justice agenda geared towards restoring common-sense and public safety in New York, Republican lawmakers said.
Among other measures, the Victims’ Justice Agenda includes legislation to:
- repeal the bail and discovery reform law enacted by Cuomo and the Democrat majorities in the Senate and Assembly two years ago;
- add certain offenses committed by a family member to the list of crimes qualifying for bail, including better protecting victims of domestic violence by allowing judges more discretion in securing orders in certain cases;
- ensure that repeat offenders qualify for bail and pre-trial detention when the principal has been convicted of one or more misdemeanor or felony offenses. Earlier this month, for example, an Oswego man was arrested 18 times over the span of four days, on charges ranging from stealing, harassing, resisting arrest, and trespassing. None of the repeat crimes he was charged under were bail eligible, and he was only held with bail after his 18th arrest for burglary and larceny;
- allow the sentence of life imprisonment without parole for persistent violent felony offenders who have three or more felony convictions;
- provide judges with discretion when setting bail for dangerous defendants;
- require health care facilities to report incidents of a sexual offense to the departments of both health and education; and
- protect witnesses in criminal prosecutions from intimidation and threats;
O’Mara also continued to criticize the governor’s recent declaration of a “disaster emergency on gun violence” in New York State. O’Mara called the move grandstanding on Cuomo’s part that only seeks to continue giving the governor unilateral powers to control the criminal justice agenda and debate in New York moving forward.
O’Mara said, “It doesn’t take another Cuomo executive order to know that rising crime and violence, and weakened public safety and security, are the result of the pro-criminal policies being enacted and pushed by this governor and a State Legislature under one-party control. They have emboldened the criminal element throughout this state through failed bail reform, lenient parole policies, an out-of-control Parole Board, cowing to the ‘defund the police’ movement, and an overall careless approach to criminal justice.”