Heastie Blasts Senate GOP’s ‘Misinformation’ On Raise The Age

Late Monday afternoon, individual Senate Republicans released a series of statements claiming Democrats had sought to include a range of violent felonies such as rape and murder in a raise the age deal, having those crimes essentially tried in a family court setting.

In a statement of his own, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie blasted those claims as part of an “unfortunate” campaign of misinformation by the Republican lawmakers about their approach in the negotiations.

“During a time when ‘fake news’ and misinformation has become a plague in our country, we owe it to our constituents to be truthful and honest about the important issues we are facing,” Heastie said.

Lawmakers had been at odds during talks over raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 over how to define a “violent” crime that would be sent to either a diversion court or to the family court system.

Heastie had insisted during the negotiations lawmakers had been discussing a narrow definition of the term, such as throwing a brick though a window.

“From the very beginning, I have very clearly stated that our goal was to ensure that young people who are accused of non-violent crimes are not sent to adult criminal court,” Heastie said in a statement on Monday night.

“Unfortunately, some Senators have chosen to engage in a fear campaign that falsely accuses Assembly Democrats of coddling murderers and rapists in the context of this issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Productive discussions about how to reach our goal are ongoing, so it is disappointing to read these kinds of statements which do not represent the real progress we have made.”

Along with the lucrative real-estate tax abatement 421a, the juvenile justice reform issue was one of the key sticking points that led to the lack of a full budget agreement.

-Nick Reisman