The Legal Aid Society issued the following statement responding to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s address on his 2019 legislative priorities:
“For New York to reach its progressive promise, criminal justice, housing, and immigration reform must be central to Albany’s 2019 legislative agenda. This must include an overhaul to bail, speedy trial, and discovery statutes; the passage of parole reform; the legalization of marijuana and the removal of prior marijuana convictions; and the repeal of laws that shield against police transparency and accountability. Equally important, lawmakers must finally repeal vacancy decontrol and the eviction-vacancy bonus, ensure that preferential rent lasts the duration of each tenancy, and close other loopholes that landlords exploit to the detriment of rent-stabilized tenants.
And on immigration, especially in the era of Trump, Albany must pass legislation that would reduce the maximum sentence on class A misdemeanor charges by one day, which would save many from ICE detention and deportation. Lawmakers must also pass the Protect Our Courts Act and the New York DREAM Act, and ensure that all state residents have access to a driver’s license.
Lastly, reform must also be a sweeping depart from a status quo that has fueled a disparate system and one that over-criminalizes communities of color. The Legal Aid Society looks forward to finally righting these long-standing injustices early next year.”