Democrat New York Gov. Kathy Hochul boasted about enacting tougher bail laws in a campaign ad released on Friday as her bid for re-election tightens.
Hochul’s new campaign ad comes amid repeated criticism by GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin, who said in July that “cashless bail has been a failure,” calling for it to be repealed.
“A safe walk home at night. A subway ride free of fear. A safer New York for every child.,” Hochul’s campaign advertisement states. “That’s what Kathy Hochul is working for as governor. And she passed a comprehensive crime plan to make it happen. It goes after illegal guns to make our neighborhoods safer. Toughens bail laws to keep repeat offenders off our streets. And gets help for the homeless and those suffering with mental illness.”
“You deserve to feel safe, and as your governor, I won’t stop working until you do,” Hochul says at the end of the campaign advertisement.
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Her advertisement touts a strengthening of the state’s cash bail laws, which was included in the fiscal year 2023 budget and was adopted on April 9.
The changes include expanding the list of factors for judges to consider when setting bail, which adds “history of gun use or possession (which currently applies only in domestic violence cases),” “any previous violation of an order of protection (which currently applies only in domestic violence cases),” and “whether the charge is alleged to have caused serious harm to an individual or individuals,” according to the governor’s website.
The enacted budget also allows judges to set the bail for three felony gun offenses that weren’t bail eligible.
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Additionally, repeat felonies and class A misdemeanors “involving harm to a person or property will now be both arrest-eligible and bail-eligible.”
New York’s 2020 bail reform law eliminated options for cash bail for most nonviolent crimes.
Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a “Cops, Cameras, Care” initiative on Saturday, pledging to beef up security on subways within the city. The program will add officer presence within the subway system by adding 1,200 additional overtime officer shifts on the subway every day, meaning there will be “10,000 additional overtime patrol hours every day.”
As part of the initiative, the officials said that two new units at psychiatric centers will be dedicated to those “experiencing serious mental health illness.”
The announcement comes just over two weeks before Election Day.
“My number one priority as governor is keeping New Yorkers safe in the streets, in their homes, in their schools, and on the subway, and we will do whatever it takes to make our subways safer for riders,” Hochul said at the press conference.
Her advertisement vowing to strengthen public safety, which invokes bail laws, comes just weeks after a Buffalo, New York, area woman, Keaira Bennefield, was allegedly killed by her husband one day after he was released from jail.
Adam Bennefield, 45, turned himself in to the Cheektowaga Police after being charged with misdemeanor assault on Oct. 4, according to FOX 29. On Oct. 5, Bennefield allegedly used his car to hit his wife’s vehicle, in addition to shooting her.
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The misdemeanor assault charges relate to an incident in which Adam Bennefield allegedly punched Keaira Bennefield.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.