By Alex Gault
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans have advanced a bill they say would entice states to amend their bail laws, encouraging them to consider “dangerousness” of an offender in the bail-setting process.
Introduced on Friday with the support and co-sponsorship of every Republican representative for New York, the “Stop Enabling Repeat Violence and Endangering Our Communities Act,” or SERVE Our Communities Act, would authorize $10 million in grant funding from the Department of Justice to states that consider dangerousness in their bail process.
That money can be used to fund programs that mentor adult or juvenile offenders during or after incarceration, to run transitional services for those leaving imprisonment and offer training on offender and victims issues.
“To receive grant money, states with these laws must also take steps to hire and retain law enforcement or administer a public awareness campaign that combats anti-police sentiment and improves community-police relations,” reads a news release from Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who authored the bill last session and led the charge introducing the bill to the Republican controlled House Friday.
The legislation targets New York, which in 2020 began enforcing one of the nations most progressive bail reform laws, strictly limiting who can be held in jail before trial and limiting how much money can be required to free someone from jail pretrial.
The reform has become a focal point for state politics, with even Democratic Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul admitting it needs to be revisited.
Rep. Stefanik has been a vocal critic of the reforms since the legislation was first introduced in Albany, and this marks the latest in her push to get New York to change the law.
“Far-left Albany’s reckless and dangerous bail reform policies have already put our communities at risk,” she said. “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.”
Read the full article on NNY360 here.