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Lawmakers: Possible changes to New York's bail reform will be discussed in legislative session

"All of them —Democrats and Republicans alike — if they put the citizens first, I'm confident changes will be made," said State Senator Pat Gallivan.

NEW YORK — For months we've heard from law enforcement officers, elected officials and victim advocates begging the legislature to take another look at New York's bail reform law that went into effect on January 1.

Those in favor say the changes make the system more fair for everyone. 

This week, even Governor Andrew Cuomo admits there could be room for improvement.

"Changing the system which we've started to do is complicated and then has a number of ramifications," Cuomo said. "There's no doubt this is still a work in progress and there are other changes that have to be made."

Republican State Senator Pat Gallivan, a former sheriff, has been a vocal opponent to parts of new york's new bail reform law.

On Tuesday he told 2 On Your Side, "The main fix I think is adding that public safety component so that judges can consider the danger to the community after an individual is arrested and make that determination before they set them free while they're awaiting trial."

Republican State Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, who's also a retired judge, agrees.

"The concern is they took most discretion away from judges," said Morinello. "My feeling is, if you have a bad judge, get rid of the judge but don't get rid of the law."

Democratic State Assemblyman Pat Burke is another lawmaker in favor of criminal justice reform but believes the law as passed is far from perfect.

"The old way definitely needed reforms for justice and for public safety," Burke said. "I think the pendulum swung a little too far and it was packaged in a budget so it was hard to really suss all that stuff out but I think there's enough political pressure now to make some changes."

He believes his bill the 'Justice for Rachael Act' would alleviate concerns over bail reform.

The legislation is named after Rachael Wierzbicki, who investigators say was killed by her ex-boyfriend, Shane Casado in South Buffalo. 

The bill, proposed last March, aims to create "dangerousness hearings" and give judges autonomy to consider public safety in pre-trial detention. 

With different ideas for solutions, the lawmakers we spoke to say bail reform will without a doubt be discussed when they return to Albany.

Senator Pat Gallivan told 2 on Your Side, "All of them — Democrats and Republicans alike — if they put the citizens first, I'm confident changes will be made." 

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