About the Legislation
The Safer NY Act is a package of bills in the New York State Legislature that would help increase police transparency and help increase accountability to New Yorkers' most common encounters with police. The #SaferNYAct includes: the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, codifying and strengthening the Special Prosecutor executive order, reducing Unnecessary Arrests for low-level, ticketable offenses, repealing the NYS police secrecy law (CRL section 50-a), and legalizing marijuana with strong attention paid to ensuring that resources are reinvested in communities most harmed by prohibition.
Legislation Included in the Safer NY Act
The following is summary of the legislation included in the Safer New York Act.
Police Statistics & Transparency (STAT) Act (A05472-Lentol/S1830–Hoylman).
This legislation would require police departments across the state to record & report demographic and geographic data on deaths that occur during law enforcement activity as well as enforcement of low-level offenses (including violations and misdemeanors) to improve transparency and help address aggressive and selective police enforcement disproportionately impacting people of color, youth, immigrant communities, LGBT people, women and people who are homeless. (Endorsed in concept by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.)
Special Prosecutor Legislation (A1601-Perry/S2574-Bailey) to codify and strengthen Executive Order 147
This legislation that provides the Attorney General’s office with jurisdiction in all cases of police killings and deaths in police custody, memorializing and strengthening EO147. The bill, if enacted, would help to ensure fair and thorough investigations and – when warranted – effective prosecutions in tragic incidents that the criminal justice system has historically failed to address.
End Police Secrecy - Repeal CRL Section 50-a (A2513-O’Donnell/S3695-Bailey)
NYS CRL 50-a is a state statute that carves out special and unnecessary exemptions for police, fire and corrections. NYS is arguably the worst in the nation in terms of hiding police misconduct and discipline. 50-a is routinely used to shield abusive officers and failed police disciplinary processes from public view. A repeal of 50-a would provide much needed transparency on police misconduct and discipline in New York State, and help address the systemic lack of accountability for officers who engage in misconduct. Other existing FOIL statutes will continue to protect individual officer privacy once 50-a is repealed. (Recommended in May 2018 final report of court-appointed Facilitator of Floyd federal stop-and-frisk litigation.)
Reduce unnecessary arrests for non-criminal offenses (A4053-Aubry/S2571-Bailey)
This legislation would end harmful and needless arrests for low-level, ticketable offenses. These arrests can carry significant social & public costs to taxpayers, and can jeopardize employment opportunities, immigration status, and access to health, housing, and other programs for those subjected to these unnecessary arrests. By making the law enforcement action commensurate with the offense, this legislation can help reduce financial resources spent on minor infractions, and increase resources available for meaningful safety measures for all New Yorkers.
End Marijuana Prohibition & Reinvest in Communities Most Harmed (A1617-Peoples-Stokes/S1527 –Krueger)
This is comprehensive legislation that will remove marijuana from consideration under the Controlled Substances Act, and will authorize the personal use and cultivation of marijuana. Marijuana prohibition has failed in its stated goal of stopping or curbing marijuana use across New York State. Instead, the enforcement of marijuana statutes has been used to target and criminalize communities of color. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) will help address the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana prohibition statutes.
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