This week, Republican lawmakers were joined by law enforcement leaders in Albany to criticize recent changes to the state’s criminal justice laws. State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay told Capital Tonight he blames the “anti-police narrative” for contributing to New York’s rising crime rate.

According to FBI data, there has been an uptick in violent crime across the country.

A recent report from The Times Union found that 2% of the nearly 100,000 cases related to the state’s bail law changes resulted in a re-arrest on a violent felony. That 2% reflects 2,051 arrests for violent felonies after a release from custody, or following an arraignment on an initial charge.

Barclay and his conference are pushing for judicial discretion to be included in any bail reform changes.

But proponents of the state’s bail law argue that allowing more judicial discretion on misdemeanor bail cases would harm minority communities.

In response, Barclay pointed to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s use of prosecutorial discretion on sentencing, and responded that opponents of bail discretion are “trying to have it both ways."

On the COVID-19 front, a state panel on Tuesday approved Gov. Kathy Hochul’s booster mandate for health care workers. Barclay told Capital Tonight that the mandates “aren’t the way to go." Additionally, he said he wanted more testing options to be available.

The Assembly minority leader added that New Yorkers should get vaccinated and boosted.