Safer New York Act

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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Safer NY Act News

Chokeholds and Police Abuse, Kept From the Public

There’s still time for New York legislators to repeal the law that keeps police records secret.
Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, outside One Police Plaza last week.CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times
06/12/2019
New York Times

An administrative judge will decide soon whether New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo should be fired for using a prohibited chokehold that led to the death of Eric Garner and waves of protestover police brutality five years ago.

Whatever her decision, the public may never know about it.

Advocates and lawmakers rally to repeal law that lets cops hide misbehavior

A woman holds signs in front of police officers as she joins a rally at City Hall Park in downtown Manhattan on Aug. 1, 2016. (Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News)
04/09/2019
New York Daily News

ALBANY — A push to repeal a law shielding police officers from public scrutiny is gaining traction in the state capital.

A group of lawmakers and activists, including the mother of Sean Bell, rallied Tuesday for the full repeal of section 50-a of the state’s civil rights law, which prevents the release of disciplinary records of uniformed officers throughout the state.

No way 50-A! Activists call for repeal of law that hides police misbehavior

State Senator Jessica Ramos joined other elected officials and advocates at City Hall March 21 to call for the repeal of the state’s 50-a law, which shields police records from scrutiny. (Trevor Boyer/New York Daily News)
03/21/2019
New York Daily News

A group of lawmakers and activists on Thursday called for the end of a law that blocks public scrutiny of NYPD misdeeds.

Democratic state legislators and city council members joined activists from Make the Road New York and Moms Rising at City Hall to rally for the repeal of the state’s 50-a law, which prevents the release of disciplinary records of uniformed officers throughout the state.

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