By Carl Campanile
In a prod to Gov. Kathy Hochul, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik has introduced federal legislation that would entice New York and other states to change their laws to “hold repeat offenders accountable and bolster public safety.”
The measure — which seeks to give judges the authority to impose bail and detain dangerous defendants pending trial — would offer a federal bounty, of sorts, to states that comply.
Stefanik’s “Stop Enabling Repeat Violence and Endangering Our Communities Act” is a response to Hochul’s public safety agenda released in her State of the State address Tuesday that critics said offered little change to the controversial cashless bail reform initially passed by the Democratic-run legislature in 2019.
The Stefanik measure — backed by 10 other Republicans in the New York congressional delegation — would allow states to apply for “anti-recidivism” grants from an annual $10 million pot of money overseen by the US Justice Department over five years.
During her State of the State, Hochul said her proposal would give judges a bit more discretion in setting bail for defendants accused of serious crimes — already bailable offenses.
Critics said she glossed over the issue of recidivists such as serial shoplifters wreaking havoc on grocers and retail stores, which has been highlighted by The Post’s coverage.
“In the face of Far Left Democrats’ calls to ‘Defund the Police’ and dangerous bail reform that put more violent criminals on the street, I am proud to lead this investment in our law enforcement and strengthen public safety,” Stefanik, the House Republican Conference chairwoman, who represents the upstate North Country, told The Post.
“Far Left Albany Democrats’ reckless and dangerous bail reform policies have already put our communities at risk. My legislation will incentivize New York State to implement policies that correct their massive oversight and hold repeat offenders accountable. I’m proud to stand united with local law enforcement and our community members to work to keep Upstate New York and the North Country, and our state of New York, safe,” the congresswoman added.
Reps. Claudia Tenney, Nicole Malliotakis, Andrew Garbarino, Brandon Williams, Nicholas LaLota, Anthony D’Esposito, Michael Lawler, Marcus Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and George Santos, who is under fire for repeatedly lying about his background, with many Republicans calling on him to resign, have all signed on to the measure.
The SERVE Our Communities Act states that in order to be eligible for federal grant money, “a state or unit of local government shall allow a State court or magistrate to consider the danger an individual poses to the community when determining bail or pretrial release.”
States must have taken action in the prior year “to prevent repeat offenses by violent offenders”, hire or retain more officers or prosecutors and conduct a public awareness campaign “to combat anti-police sentiment and improve community-police relations.”
The SERVE our Communities bill has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Association of Police Organizations, and National District Attorneys Association, Stefanik said.
Chances of the bill’s passage remains unclear. While Republicans hold a slim majority in the House, Democrats have a narrow hold in the Senate.
Read the full article in the New York Post here.