NYC lawmakers criticize LI delegation over call to change bail reform law

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Long Island state senators who are breaking with their Democratic colleagues and calling for changes in the bail reform law are getting sharply criticized. 

The changes that state senators from Nassau and Suffolk are proposing include giving judges more discretion over whether they can detain a suspect.

Since the law took effect last month, there have been well-publicized cases of defendants being let go after their arrest and then immediately committing another crime.

Many state lawmakers who represent New York City are adamant against changes to the law, and this week they took aim at the Long Island delegation.

"I would urge them to just look at the law, look at what we're proposing to modify," says state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Syosset). "It's going to make the criminal justice system fairer."

Political analyst Jerry Kremer was a longtime Democratic assemblyman from Long Beach. He emphasizes that the disagreement about the reform stems from the differences between the concerns of the city and the suburbs.

"The city legislators are aware of the fact that a lot of their constituents are held a lot longer than they should be because they can't put up bail," says Kremer. "On Long Island, we're concerned about turning people loose without anybody having any discretion over it."

Meanwhile, Republicans say Democrats created their own mess by hastily passing the criminal justice reform bill last year. 

“The shame of it is when the bill was initially introduced, it had provisions to keep the judges' discretion in there for dangerousness and other types of issues,” says State Assemblyman Mike Montesano. “But they took it out at the last minute and that's what's caused this whole uproar.” 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins support changes to the law. But Speaker of the State Assembly Carl Heastie says he has no intention of supporting changes.

It's expected that any proposed changes will be included in the state budget package, which is due by April 1.

RELATED STORIES: 
Police: Hempstead man robbed more banks following release under bail reform law Father testifies to Nassau lawmakers that new bail reform laws led to son’s death 
State Sen. Kaminsky: Democrats have plan to fix bail reform law 
Bail reform law prompts call for quarterly crime statistic reports in Nassau 
Police: Homeless man released under bail reform wanted in third bank robbery 

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