February 11, 2020, Reaffirmed June 9, 2020, Reaffirmed January 12, 2021


WHEREAS; the New York Legislature enacted legislation known as the “Bail Elimination Act of 2019” which was approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo and took effect on January 1, 2020; and

WHEREAS; this legislative change was conducted as a component of passing the State’s budget instead of being deliberated as a standalone bill; and

WHEREAS; the new law eliminates bail requirements for all crimes except for violent acts of assault and murder; and

WHEREAS; an extensive list of criminal acts that were previously categorized as violent crimes have been downgraded to the categories of non-violent felonies and misdemeanors: and

WHEREAS; judges no longer have the discretion to impose bail or decide whether certain offenders should remain incarcerated while awaiting trial for offenses on the newly expanded list of “non-violent crimes”; and

WHEREAS; changes to discovery laws will allow those accused of burglaries or violent crimes to re-enter the crime scene to gather evidence for their defense, even when the location of the crime is a business or private household; and

WHEREAS; an estimated 3,800 suspects across New York State will be released who were, or are, currently detained while awaiting trial; and

WHEREAS; some urban areas such as New York City have already seen a rapid rise in crime as repeat offenders have been let free since this change in the law took effect January 1, 2020; and

WHEREAS; the cost imposed on local jurisdictions to monitor defendants awaiting trial who cannot be held under bail is not funded by the State and may necessitate local tax increases to track and pursue defendants who do not appear in court; and

WHEREAS; the business climate in New York State could be adversely affected if the State is perceived as increasingly less safe, and could create new challenges to recruiting new businesses, employees, and their families;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce agrees with and supports the efforts of law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, and other State and local legislators in calling on the Governor and the State Legislature for the complete repeal of the “Bail Elimination Act of 2019” and, in addition, to cease the practice of concealing such significant changes to State laws within the budget process.


2nd Reaffirmation