ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — While the legislative session adjourned just last week, Republican lawmakers say there’s a possibility of a special session. They are proposing an amendment that would allow voters to recall their local district attorney.
In San Francisco, District Attorney Chesa Boudin was removed from office in the middle of his term. Voters in the progressive city determined the DA wasn’t punishing crime to the fullest extent of the law.
In New York only the Governor can remove a District Attorney from office. Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt says, for months, Republican lawmakers have called on the Governor to remove New York City DA Alvin Bragg from his position. With Governor Hochul not acting on her power to do lawmakers are proposing legislation that could change the state Constitution.
SOT Ortt: And I think it’s important here that they have sworn an oath, when you take an oath as a District Attorney, you have an oath to uphold the law and prosecute crimes under the law. They are not legislators. If Alvin Bragg wants to change the laws he should run for legislator he should run for state senate. He should run for assembly. And then he can change the laws that he thinks are wrong.
Assembly Minority Leader, Will Barclay says, the proposed constitutional amendment would require 20% of district members to sign a petition which would go to ballot. Members can then either vote in favor or removal of the DA. Lawmakers say this proposed amendment is particularly important when it comes to New York’s spike in crime.
SOT Barclay: Policy has played a role in this, whether its bail reform, whether it’s raise the age. All you have to do is look at the front page of any paper almost daily and you see a recidivist criminal getting out of jail and being able to commit additional crime.
Republican lawmakers say its crucial that New Yorkers at least have the option to recall their district attorney.
SOT Ortt: I think the point is to give them a mechanism to remove an elected official who’s literally not doing the core work of his office. His office is to prosecute people who commit crimes.
In order to vote on this, lawmakers would have to convene for a special session. We’ll have the details, if that happens. News 10 did reach out to Mr. Bragg’s office but was unable to reach him for comment.