Environment and Energy, Features, Finance, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

Statement on the Veto of the Charitable Bail Fund Reform Act

December 15, 2019

By NYS State Senator Gustavo Rivera

“I am deeply disturbed by Governor Cuomo’s veto of my bill, the Charitable Bail Fund Reform Act, S.494. In 2012, I passed a law to enable charitable bail organizations to function in New York State. This law has given justice to countless New Yorkers so they could keep jobs, homes, and families intact instead of being in jail simply because they were too poor to afford bail. The bill the Governor just decided to veto would have removed unnecessary restrictions hampering Charitable Bail Organizations (CBOs) from providing access to more New Yorkers, specifically for those who cannot afford bail in the 57 counties without these programs.  

Wealth-based incarceration is an unnecessary, inhumane, and discriminatory practice. Recipients of charitable bail have their cases dismissed more often than not, they are not pressured into guilty pleas, and they overwhelmingly appear for their court dates and remain free while awaiting trial. Bail funds upstate are extremely limited in their capacity, but my bill would have allowed them to work collaboratively to help more New Yorkers. I am appalled that the Governor did not deem this common sense measure appropriate to become law. Especially, since during budget negotiations, there was an agreement between the Senate, Assembly, and the Governor to pass this bill and have it signed into law. 

Governor Cuomo’s veto is an affront to the justice reforms that make our state a leader and to the dozens of legislators who supported the bill this past session. Our state’s historic bail and pretrial reforms are weeks away from going into effect to end cash bail for some criminal charges. Yet, after seven years of paving the way, charitable bail organizations will not be able to serve New Yorkers who are still in need across our state.”

December 15, 2019

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