Republican Representative Elise Stefanik has proposed a dangerousness standard when determining bail or pre-trial release, linking it to federal grant funding. Under Stefanik’s proposal, states that approve laws allowing judges to consider the dangerousness of a defendant would be eligible for $10 million in grants from the Department of Justice. The money would be used to help hire or retain law enforcement personnel or fund a public awareness campaign meant to improve relations with the community.
The measure was proposed as New York continues to debate its law that ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges. This law has been a focal point of a broader debate over public safety as voters in public surveys have called crime a top concern for them. Stefanik’s proposal has support from upstate law enforcement officials, who pointed to the need to boost recruitment in their ranks.
“In the face of the Far Left’s calls to ‘Defund the Police’ and dangerous bail reform that puts more violent criminals on the street, I am proud to lead this investment in our law enforcement and strengthen public safety,” Stefanik said. “Far Left Albany’s 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.”
This proposal also comes days after Governor Kathy Hochul proposed further changes to New York’s bail law. Under Hochul’s plan, the “least restrictive” standard when setting bail would end for serious criminal charges. Hochul has said the proposals are meant to end confusion in the law for judges when considering criteria for bail or pre-trial release.
Democratic leaders in the state Legislature, have been hesitant to back further changes to the bail measure in New York. Democratic state lawmakers have acknowledged the concerns over crime and have called for ways of addressing crime to include efforts meant to improve mental health programs, homelessness and education.
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