Thursday, January 26, 2023

NY Lawmakers Ban Cops from Pulling Over Drivers for Certain Offenses

New York State lawmakers have now made it illegal for police officers to pull over drivers for breaking certain traffic laws. The bill was passed by the Assembly in 2021 and the Senate in May of 2022, but Governor Kathy Hochul waited until after the election to approve it.

Among the local lawmakers voting to approve the bill were Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, and Senator James Skoufis. The Assembly approved the new law with a 140-9 vote on June 7, 2021. The Senate approved it with a 40-21 vote on May 18, 2022. Hochul approved it on December 23, 2022.

Under the new law, police officers can no longer stop motorists for slapping stickers across their windshields which block their views. Also, police can no longer pull over drivers for placing or hanging objects in front of their windshields and obstructing their views.

These actions are still illegal in accordance with traffic laws, but it is now illegal for police to stop drivers for violating these laws. The legislation requires police to have a different reason for pulling over drivers before they are able to ticket drivers for not being able to see out of their windshields.

“Why have laws if we can’t enforce them,” quipped one local police officer who did not want his name published. “I don’t understand why these politicians are making it illegal to enforce the laws they make!”

The bill states that motorists should be allowed to commit “minor violations” without being pulled over because legislators claim the police are apt to kill the drivers. “As has been painfully demonstrated over the past few years in the news, these stops for minor violations have led to motorists dying at the hand of the police,” the bill’s text reads. The bill cites a 2020 study that reported “black drivers were searched by police 1.5 to 2 times as often as white drivers.”

The new legislation takes effect immediately.

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