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June 29, 2021 - 11:31am

Assemblyman Hawley pens letter in support of Council's stance against 'disastrous, dangerous' bail reform

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Steve Hawley, bail reform.

With Assemblyman Steve Hawley already weighing in on her push to get New York State lawmakers to change the current bail rules and regulations, City Council Member Rose Mary Christian is hopeful that other municipalities will act as well.

Hawley penned a letter dated June 24 in response to hearing Christian’s concerns about what he writes, “the disastrous and dangerous 2019 Bail Reform” (that puts strict limits on the use of cash bail and pretrial detention).

The assemblyman’s letter points to a plan introduced by the Minority Conference to help combat the recent rise in violent crime across the state, and outlines seven areas of proposed legislation to counteract the 2019 Bail Reform act. The letter was entered into Monday night’s City Council meeting proceedings with City Clerk Heidi Parker reading the 14-paragraph statement aloud.

At Council’s meeting on June 14, Christian requested that the city draft a letter requesting a change in the bail reform laws – and her colleagues agreed – and sending it to state representatives in Albany.

Last night, the board reviewed a letter written by City Manager Rachael Tabelski, accepting a revision of the third paragraph to read:

“We commend the Legislature’s efforts to roll back some of the original reforms that were passed last year, such as allowing judges to set bail for more criminal charges that had eliminated bail. We respectfully request that the Legislature consider adding more crimes in which judges have discretion to set bail, including crimes against police officers, firemen and sexual assaults and burglary. We also support restoring bail for any crime involving the use of a gun.”

Christian was pleased with the changes, noting that the letter “has got some teeth in it now.”

“By us passing this – and not just by one person, not by just me but this whole board – is very important and it will show some credence to the fact that we really mean business and maybe other councils, maybe other towns, will follow and we might be able to change this law now,” she said.

It also was suggested to send the letter to Genesee Association of Municipalities in anticipation of it being sent to all Genesee County towns and villages.

Previously: City manager drafts letter from Council asking New York State lawmakers to 'revisit' bail reform laws

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