The law ending cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges was approved on the state level last year, and it's on the state level where lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo may change it.
But Republican candidates for Congress this year have blasted the law, seeking to link their Democratic opponents to the measure, which is increasingly unpopular with voters statewide.
“The far-left legislation churning out of Albany is now having very real and dangerous consequences for the citizens of New York," said former Rep. Claudia Tenney, a Republican who is running for the seat she lost in 2018 to Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi. "It’s time we repeal Governor Cuomo’s so-called bail reforms which are literally putting violent criminals back onto our streets and placing families and law enforcement officers in danger."
This isn't unusual for Republicans to seize on a state law to knock their Democratic opponents in a federal race. The SAFE Act gun control law, approved in 2013, was and remains a popular punching bag in congressional races in moderate to conservative-leaning House districts.
New York is home to multiple battleground House districts, including the 22nd district, which Brindisi is defending this year. Tenney is competing in a Republican primary in June for the GOP nomination.
Citizen Action, a progressive group, defended the law as Republican leaders, including Chairman Nick Langworthy, called for its repeal on Monday.
“Justice and fairness should transcend partisan politicking," said Mary Clark, the group's regional coordinator in the Southern Tier. "A GOP party leader coming to our community to call for jailing more Black and Brown and poor and sick people as part of an explicit electoral strategy just plain disgusts me. Our pre-trial detention population in Broome County has dropped by nearly a third since last year and we have to keep moving forward for justice. We need drug treatment and mental health resources, not more jail deaths.”