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With passage of HALT Act, prison reform advocates demand Cuomo sign it into law

Tuesday morning in front of Elim Christian Fellowship in Buffalo, prison reform advocates called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the recently passed HALT Solitary Confinement Act into law.

Rev. Markeisha Jackson of Rochester said the fight to get the bill to this point has been an arduous one.

“Ten years too long,” she said. “And the time has come. 2021, this is the year of breakthrough and the bills have been passed.”

From March 23, Cuomo has eight days to either sign or veto the bill. Doing nothing would turn the bill into law by default.

Cuomo previously expressed concern regarding costs within the bill, said Western New York HALT Solitary Confinement Campaigner Dr. Stephen Hart. But Hart believes cost is now a non-issue.

“The cost issues are somewhat of a red herring in our view,” he said. “And especially now that the state budget problems are not nearly as severe, with the infusion of federal money that’s coming, that really shouldn’t be an obstacle anymore.”

Vetoing the bill would send it back to the legislative house from which it originally passed, but a two-thirds majority vote in favor, in both houses, overrides the veto and makes the bill a law.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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