Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today led the entire New York Republican delegation in introducing the Stop Enabling Repeat Violence and Endangering (SERVE) Our Communities Act.
Since taking effect in 2020, New York State’s bail reform laws have eliminated cash bail and expanded pre-trial release for a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges.
This bill provides an incentive for states like New York to adopt policies that hold repeat offenders accountable and bolster public safety. Specifically, the SERVE Our Communities Act would authorize $10 million in anti-recidivism grant funding from the Department of Justice for states that have laws directing courts to consider dangerousness when determining bail or pretrial release. To receive grant money, states with these laws must also take steps to hire and retain law enforcement or administer a public awareness campaign that combats anti-police sentiment and improves community-police relations.
“In the face of the Far Left’s calls to ‘Defund the Police’ and dangerous bail reform that puts more violent criminals on the street, I am proud to lead this investment in our law enforcement and strengthen public safety. Far Left Albany’s reckless and dangerous bail reform policies have already put our communities at risk. My legislation will incentivize New York State to implement policies that correct their massive oversight and hold repeat offenders accountable. I’m proud to stand united with local law enforcement and our community members to work to keep Upstate New York and the North Country, and our state of New York, safe,” Stefanik said.
“The sweeping measures implemented by NY Bail Reform in 2020 haphazardly returned criminals to the streets and left the prosecution and law enforcement with insurmountable tasks; all while omitting the addition of adequate funding to accomplish the new mandates. The SERVE Our Communities Act effectively takes head on the escalating post covid violent crime rates in New York by providing a funding source aimed at pulling off the band aid and finding a cure. Furthermore, giving our judges discretion to set bail is clearly what public safety dictates and what our communities require. Let’s get ahead of the violence and balance the scales of justice. Thank You Congresswoman Stefanik for supporting public safety with the introduction of this important and necessary Act,” said Lorraine Diamond, Montgomery County District Attorney.
"Bail reform has proven that career criminals and offenders who don't care have made a mockery of the New York State Court System, placed stress on our local communities, and burdened local Law Enforcement agencies at a time when recruitment is so low. Judicial discretion is a must at the time of arraignment because each case should be based on its own merits. If this continues then recidivism will flourish,” said Peter R. Barnett, Jefferson County Sheriff.
Stefanik was joined by Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Nicholas LaLota (NY-01), George Santos (NY-03), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Marc Molinaro (NY-19), Brandon Williams (NY-22), and Nick Langworthy (NY-23) in introducing this bill.
“New York’s radical left cashless bail reform has been a disaster. The SERVE Act works to hold repeat offenders accountable and support our brave men and women who risk their lives to ensure our communities are safe. We must end the continuous cycle of ‘defund the police’ and ‘catch and release’ policies. I’m honored to join my fellow New York Republicans in reintroducing this vital piece of legislation and look forward to real improvement in our justice system,” Congresswoman Claudia Tenney said.
“Every single day violent crime is splashed across the front pages of New York newspapers. New Yorkers live in fear as crime rates continue to rise and our law enforcement officers fight to keep our communities safe while contending with reduced resources and state laws like cashless bail making their jobs harder,” Congressman Andrew Garbarino said. “I am proud to cosponsor the SERVE Our Communities Act which will incentivize states like New York to invest in our police departments, take steps to hire and retain more officers, and implement polices to keep dangerous criminals off the streets instead of allowing repeat offenders free time and time again.”
“As New Yorkers, we’ve seen firsthand the disastrous impact bail reform has had on our communities by allowing career criminals to repeatedly wreak havoc on our streets. As an American Security Task Force member, I met with key stakeholders to develop solutions to bolster public safety and give our law enforcement the tools and resources necessary to hold criminals accountable. The SERVE Act incentivizes states to repeal their pro-criminal policies and invest in our police and I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing it today,” Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis said.
“The SERVE Our Communities Act will help correct Albany Democrats’ dangerous soft-on crime policies including cashless bail and pre-trial release,” Congressman Nicholas LaLota said. “This bill deserves bipartisan support as my colleagues, regardless of party, should be doing more to support law enforcement officers across the country to help them do their jobs. I remain committed to working with anyone to keep our families safe and secure.”
“The Far Left’s war on law enforcement has emboldened criminals across the Empire State while simultaneously handcuffing members of law enforcement. For too long, progressive Democrats have worked on overdrive to defund the police, provide pathways for criminals to escape punishment via the disastrous bail reform changes, and cultivate a culture of lawlessness across New York. With this deteriorating public safety situation in mind, I am proud that the New York Republican delegation to the House of Representatives is working to safeguard New Yorkers by advancing legislation such as the SERVE Our Communities Act. As a retired NYPD Detective, I will always remain committed to protecting and serving New Yorkers – this legislation will do just that," Congressman Anthony D’Esposito said.
“Cashless Bail has been an unmitigated disaster in New York, unleashing dangerous criminals and repeat offenders back onto our streets to commit more violent offenses. Since cashless bail took effect, over 40% of those released on non-monetary bail for violent felonies have been rearrested while those charges are pending. It has to stop. I’m proud to sign onto this legislation, which authorizes $10 million in anti-recidivism grant funding for states that have laws directing courts to consider dangerousness when determining bail or pretrial release. The SERVE Our Communities Act incentivizes states like New York to fix their broken criminal justice laws and restore public safety.” Congressman Mike Lawler said.
“I am proud to join Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and New York Republicans in introducing commonsense legislation to rein in Albany’s bail reform law. Since this law was rolled out, New York State’s criminal justice system has acted as a revolving door for repeat offenders. Enough is enough: Albany’s bail reform experiment has failed. We are acting to reprioritize public safety in New York and prevent more senseless tragedies,” Congressman Marc Molinaro said.
“New York State’s radical bail reform laws have empowered criminals and made New Yorkers less safe. New York State must act to reverse this disastrous policy. The SERVE Our Communities is an excellent first step to incentivize Democrats in Albany to finally act,” Congressman Brandon Williams said.
“Bail reform has been an unmitigated, deadly disaster that has affected countless New Yorkers. Since Albany refuses to act to reverse this disastrous policy, it’s time for Congress to step in and I am proud to join my colleagues in the New York delegation in introducing this critical bill. We cannot let another day go by where career criminals continue to control our streets,” Congressman Nick Langworthy said.
This legislation has been endorsed by the National District Attorneys Association, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, and Major Cities Chiefs Association.
Read full bill text here.