Tuesday, March 13, 2018



Dutchess legislators contemplate criminal justice, human rights

Vasquez: "There is a lot of public support ..."

POUGHKEEPSIE – After the Dutchess County Legislature zipped through an agenda of routine business during their brief monthly session Monday night, the real action began, on possible future topics related to human rights.

Democrat Legislator Joel Tyner, who usually addresses several topics during the ‘other business’ segment at the end of the agenda, said legislators can look forward to a “Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018.” 

The intent is to follow the lead of recent directives from Governor Andrew Cuomo and he lead of other area counties, on not jailing and requiring bail for non-violent offenders, in most cases. 

Tyner is doing it as a local law because, he said, he can’t get anything through the committee process.

“Because you guys don’t allow Democratic resolutions to be on the agenda for committee meetings,” he said.

Tyner said this spills into the broader issue of human rights.

“We are going to make sure that our tax dollars are being spent on companies and non-profits that respect consumers, respect workers, respect the environment and respect human rights.”

During the final public comment period, Jasmin Vasquez of Poughkeepsie picked up that theme, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt.

“There’s a lot of public support in Dutchess County by a lot of activists of all different grassroots organizations and across party lines to promote human rights,” Vasquez said.  “We feel that those liberties that we fought so hard for, generations fought so hard for are going to be threatened and are threatened right now.”

Vasquez said she is focusing on the Dutchess County Legislature and is looking for bipartisan support.


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