Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman talks mask mandates, repealing bail reform law

Coronavirus

It has been over a week since Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman was sworn into office.

He joined Republican lawmakers in Albany on Tuesday, calling for the repeal of the state’s bail reform law. The issue was a central part of his campaign.

Blakeman said police recovered over 100 illegal guns two days ago and over one-third were from criminals who were not held on bail.

The bail reform law is making New York “a much less safe state,” Blakeman told the PIX11 Morning News. 

“Bail reform is nothing more than the get-out-of-jail-free card, and it’s got to stop. It’s a crazy situation,” he said.

People in support of the law, however, argue that cash bail creates an unfair system that criminalizes poverty. 

When asked about his opinion on that argument, Blakeman said judges must apply the law, and if there are judges who don’t do that, they should be removed. 

Mask mandates

Last week, Blakeman signed an executive order, giving local school boards the power to decide whether or not to mandate masks.

The Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association has since said it is siding with state rules, asking the county executive to withdraw that order.

Blakeman claimed that the governor has threatened school board members to be removed and funding would be taken away from schools.

“We’re going to be hurting our school kids and that’s wrong,” he said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul did say they are looking into mask mandates and when to lighten up. However, the state is in the middle of an omicron surge, with Nassau County seeing a positivity rate of 22.

When asked why they should still ease mandates despite the surge, Blakeman said they have had a mask mandate for over six months, and omicron continues to multiply.

The county executive argued the mask mandate is not working and giving a false sense of security. 

To tackle the rise in cases, Blakeman said the county is handing out tests and opening more vaccine hubs for those who want to get vaccinated.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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