In response to the momentous protest in the wake of George Floyd's death, the NYS Legislature listened to its constituents and implemented sweeping policing reform.
The charge for policing reform was led by Sen. Jamaal Bailey. Sen. Bailey passed the repeal of 50-a S8496 / A10611, which barred police departments from divulging disciplinary records of police officers. This much needed transparency helps increase accountability amongst police. Advocates have failed to repeal 50a for the last 10-years. So it was a historical victory for Sen. Bailey for ensuring legislative change followed behind the protests. Sen. Bailey wasn't done and passed additional police reform bills: Office of the Special Prosecutor (S2574A), Medical Attention for Persons Under Arrests (S6601), Require Officers to Report When they Discharge their Weapons (S2575). He challenged the status quo, the powerful police union, and did not squander the moment getting buy in and support from even Governor Cuomo.
At Plant Inspired Future, PIF, we salute Senator Bailey and the New York State legislature for creating the change people demanded. We are thankful for Sen. Bailey's commitment and leadership towards criminal justice and police reform. This victory highlights the importance of us citizens coming together and rallying behind causes we care deeply about. Additional reform lays ahead, as discussions have expanded beyond police brutality to reexamine laws that have adversely impacted communities of color including the legalization of marjuana.
Marijuana legalization addresses criminal justice reform, police reform, and economic reform. Blacks are nearly 4x more likely to get arrested for marijuana crimes as whites, despite similar consumption rates. Given its growing popularity and recreational legalization across the country, reform is needed for those currently imprisoned for marijuana related crimes. Police need not ignore the staggering statistics of arrests which suggest unfair treatment of minorities. Legalizing adult use of marijuana will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and generate tax revenue that should be redistributed across those communities that were decimated by the immoral War on Drugs. Our elected politicians have an opportunity to press forward, to continue to spark change as Sen. Bailey did recently. The time is now and the hope is we continue making New York better.