Take Action – Repeal CRL 50-a

Much needs to be done to restore public trust in policing and eradicate racism in our institutions. As a start, police departments across the nation need to step up to discipline and remove bad actors, and there is at least one thing New York leaders can do now: repeal Civil Rights Law (CRL) 50-a, which would permit the public disclosure of police records relating to police misconduct.

The City Bar supports repealing CRL 50-a as a needed reform because the law has been interpreted so broadly that, according to New York State’s Committee on Open Government, police misconduct in New York State is more secretive than in any other state in the nation.  And without transparency, officers are less accountable to the communities they serve.

The law can also be changed without threatening officers’ privacy.  Safeguards are already provided by New York’s Public Officers Law, which prevents records from being disclosed when they constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, are compiled for law enforcement purposes, or endanger the life or safety of any person, among other circumstances. In addition, the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) provides all government entities with a process for reviewing and responding to requests for records.

A just society cannot continue to tolerate the systematic mistreatment of, and violence perpetrated against, people of color.  As City Bar President Sheila Boston said in a recent statement: “Those of us in the legal profession must rise up and lend our intellect, talent, creativity and problem-solving skills to solve this systemic and chronic injustice in our nation.”

Help us support the repeal of CRL-50! Here’s what you need to know:


A.10611 (AM O’Donnell)
S.8496 (Sen. Bailey)

The Legislature has announced they will vote on this bill on June 9th. Now is the time to contact legislators and the Governor to express your support for repealing CRL 50-a!


  • Send an email or make a short phone call to key legislators (see below) to express your support for repealing CRL 50-a. Your message doesn’t need to be long, it just needs to convey (1) that you support the enactment of A.2513/S.3695 to repeal 50-a; and (2) that as their constituent, you urge them to support the bill and help ensure it will come to the floor for a vote.
  • Engage on social media.  Join the conversation by expressing your support for repealing CRL 50-a.. Use your social media to urge Legislators to support these reforms and encourage your followers to do the same. Make sure to tag relevant legislators (see below) and #Repeal50a in your posts.
  • Who to contact in your outreach:
    • Your representative in the Senate and Assembly: insert your address here for contact information
    • Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: 518-455-2585 or; on Twitter @AndreaSCousins
    • Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: 518-455-3791 or; on Twitter @CarlHeastie
    • Senate Bill Sponsor and Codes Committee Chair Jamaal Bailey: 518-455-2061 or; on Twitter @jamaaltbailey
    • Assembly Bill Sponsor Danny’ O’Donnell: 518-455-5603 or; on Twitter at @Danny_ODonnell_
    • Governor Andrew Cuomo: 518-474-1041 (press 2) or here; on Twitter at @NYGovCuomo