Ortt calls for open, honest, transparent deliberations on any changes to criminal justice policies in state budget
New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt has penned a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul calling on her to keep the public informed on potential changes to bail and discovery reforms, and bring all stakeholders to the discussion table. This demand follows the governor’s recent commitment to not negotiate the budget or policies in public.
“When you assumed office from our disgraced former Governor, you pledged ‘a new era of greater transparency and accountability’ yet you recently stated that you will not negotiate in public. To negotiate changes to one of the most consequential pieces of legislation enacted over the past decade behind closed doors, is not transparency; it’s secrecy,” Ortt wrote.
Last week, a 10-point public safety plan proposed by Hochul was leaked to the press. However, Ortt said the governor has been reluctant to provide a detailed blueprint of the plan, provide substantive answers on the plan, or discuss it with stakeholders in public.
In reaction to the 10-point plan, Ortt in a statement said the Senate Republican Conference will not stop fighting for policies that put the needs of crime victims ahead of criminals and keep communities safe.
Ortt’s team said, “When bail reform was passed in the budget in 2019, the public and critical stakeholders – like law enforcement, district attorneys, judges, and victims – were given little to no input on the changes. Senate Republicans have long called for both transparency and real fixes to bail reform.” That includes:
√ In July of 2021, Senate Republicans called for data on the impacts of bail reform;
√ For years – and most recently in the “Take Back New York” 2022 agenda – Senate Republicans have called for a restoration of public safety by rejecting bail reform, supporting law enforcement, and passing a victims’ justice agenda.
Ortt said, “New Yorkers are being left in the dark by their representatives in the state government – who are supposed to be faithful, open and accessible public servants. This is Albany business-as-usual: Politicians pass broken, failed policies with no transparency, and everyday New Yorkers are left to deal with the disastrous effects. This is exactly what happened when bail and discovery ‘reforms’ were rammed through the budget the first time. This provides zero opportunities for the people to provide input to their elected representatives. There is no other way to do this – we must deliberate bail reform in front of the eyes of the public.”