Advertisement

NY Assembly Speaker Heastie refuses to back tougher sentences for criminals who attack retail workers

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie shut down Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to toughen up penalties for thugs who attack retail workers — saying Tuesday he didn’t think it’d crack down on crime.

Heastie told reporters that lawmakers and the governor should not address criminal sentencing as part of negotiations over the state’s massive spending package in a blow to Hochul’s agenda.

“I just don’t believe raising penalties is ever a deterrent on crime,” Heastie said.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is throwing cold water on the prospects for addressing any changes to criminal penalties in the state budget. AP
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is throwing cold water on the prospects for addressing any changes to criminal penalties in the state budget. AP

“I don’t want to make it sound like we’re not concerned about stemming what’s happened to retail workers,” he added. “We care very deeply about that. We just have other ideas of how to get there.

“If you just keep dealing with the penalties, what happens after people get arrested? You’re still only worrying about what happens after something has already happened.”

Hochul’s budget called for a crackdown on an explosion of retail theft including jacking up penalties for people who assault retail workers as well as investments in state police and district attorneys teams to go after the biggest crooks.

“The chaos must stop,” Hochul boomed in her State of the State address in January.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is pushing to increase penalties on people who assault retail workers as part of a broader proposal to address retail theft. Inside Edition
Gov. Kathy Hochul is pushing to increase penalties on people who assault retail workers as part of a broader proposal to address retail theft. Inside Edition

Heastie said he was still open to part of Hochul’s plan that sought to cut off organized rings that coordinate the thefts and sell large amounts of stolen goods.

“We’d be open to talking about organized crime rings,” the speaker said.

Last year’s state budget was held up over a month after its April 1 due date as lawmakers haggled with Hochul over tweaks to the state’s bail reform laws.

Heastie left open the possibility of addressing organized rings that coordinate the theft and sale of stolen goods. Kevin C. Downs
Heastie left open the possibility of addressing organized rings that coordinate the theft and sale of stolen goods. Kevin C. Downs

Republicans continue to hammer Hochul and the Democrat-dominated state legislature over the bail laws.

Just an hour before Heastie spoke with reporters, Assemblyman Mike Durso (R-Nassau) stood a few feet away railing on Democrats’ lack of action on bail laws a day after a repeat offender killed an NYPD officer in Queens.

“The budget was late because we were going to change bail reform laws and nothing has been done yet,” Durso said. “We have legislators that were starving themselves because they didn’t want bail reform laws in the budget. And then here we are again and we’re going to refuse to not change bail laws, again, to keep criminals in jail.”