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Rensselaer County lawmakers urging the state to amend or suspend criminal justice reform laws

WNYT Staff
Updated: January 15, 2020 09:34 AM
Created: January 14, 2020 04:11 AM

TROY – The Rensselaer County Legislature sent a clear message to state lawmakers Tuesday night. They unanimously passed a resolution urging the state to immediately suspend or amend the new criminal justice reform laws.

"This resolution is important because it really reflects the concerns and the fears the average citizen has as they go about their daily life," said Legislator Tom Grant.

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The resolution was brought forward by the Republican majority. Grant said they created it after public forums were held around the county. The minority was also in support of the resolution.

"Is bail reform necessary? Certainly," said Minority Leader Peter Grimm. "Is reform to the bail reform necessary? Certainly."

The legislature touched on two major concerns these new laws have brought to the county. The big concern is public safety.

"People feel nervous I mean these are people whether they are people that the crime has been committed against and that their accuser is getting released I think everyone has a little bit of concern," said Grimm.

Another concern is money. Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said last month these criminal justice reform laws were costing the county around $750,000. He said they haven’t been given any additional aid from the state.

“The counties are being asked to spend tax payer money on a system that was not in existence prior to the passage of this legislation prior to Jan.1 of this year,” said Grant.

Supporters of bail reform have said current bail and pretrial law unfairly impact minority and poorer communities. They have said these changes make the criminal justice system fair for everyone.

Rensselaer County is hoping other counties pass similar resolutions. However, they said it can’t just be legislators pushing for these changes.

“I think it's also something that's up to the constituency I think they need to also get in touch with their lawmakers in Albany and tell them how they feel,” said Grimm.


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