ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Tuesday marks one year since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police. His murder has sparked conversations about police reform nationwide, including in New York State.
The New York State legislature has passed several police reforms. Some of those changes have included repealing 50-A, which lifted the shield on police personnel records, a ban on chokeholds, and body camera legislation for New York State Police.
“I think we did quite a lot of legislation last summer about police reform and accountability that was important, but I think there’s more to do,” said State Senator Rachel May.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Over this past year, we have seen people from every race, gender, and demographic come together to demand much-needed changes to our justice and policing systems. I am proud of the historic reforms the Senate Democratic Majority has passed under my leadership, and our work is not done.”
Last week New York State Attorney General Tish James and progressive lawmakers advocated for the passage of the Police Accountability Act. That legislation has been opposed by some Republicans and the New York State Sheriffs’ Association.
There’s also been talk about a bill to end “qualified immunity” for police, and “clean slate” legislation. Session is scheduled to end on June 10.
“The pressure is on to get the legislature behind these pieces of legislation, but if not this year, certainly a top priority for next session, and honestly at the call of the Speaker should he chose to bring session back throughout the break,” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.
Police Departments across the state were also required to submit police reform plans by the end of April to the state. Ten out of the 492 police agencies have not yet done so, including Galway in Saratoga County.