ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – The Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Carl Heastie, says he needs more hard data on how the state’s new bail reform laws are working before his house could even consider some revisions proposed by Democrats in the State Senate.
The proposal by Senate Democrats, first reported by Newsday, would end all cash bail but give judges more discretion over who should be released after an arrest. The judges could take into consideration past criminal history and whether the accused might be a flight risk.
Police and prosecutors have complained that the January 1 law, which ended most forms of cash bail for non- violent offenses, has led to repeat offenders being released, and then going out and committing more crimes.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he needs more evidence on how the law is working, before making any decisions. He says the “transformational” law has only been in effect for six weeks.
“You need real data, real information, not cherry – picked stories and sensationalized events to try to paint a picture as to whether the law is working or not,” Heastie said.
The Speaker, who has worked closely with Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in the past, says he was not given a heads up about the proposal, but says he’s “not surprised” by it.
The Speaker did not completely rule out , though , making some changes as part of the state budget, due at the end of March, but he says he would need solid evidence by then that the law as not working as planned.