Budget faces delay as lawmakers debate bail and housing
ALBANY, N.Y. The New York State budget is due on April 1, but there is still no vote in Albany.
Lawmakers tell News10NBC they’re slammed in back-to-back meetings, discussing topics like bail reform and housing.
“However that does not mean there are literally not ‘round the clock’ tables, as they call them, where the staff is getting together, talking about climate initiatives, education, healthcare,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Bail is still a main topic of debate. Hochul said one of the tweaks she’s proposing has to do with pretrial conditions. She says judges need a clear criteria of rules when deciding whether to hold someone.
Her current proposal would remove the ‘Least Restrictive Means’ standard, which is something judges are required to use. Removing it would allow judges more discretion to keep alleged violent offenders in jail.
“I’m very clear on what I’m looking for,” said Hochul. “There is an inconsistency in our law right now. That’s what I’m striving to fix, with respect to the least restrictive means in particular.”
Senator Robert Ortt said on Friday he believes bail is the main holdup, during a press conference in which he was joined by other Republican lawmakers.
“It’s strictly because the senate and assembly Democrats do not believe that any changes to cashless bail need to happen,” said Ortt. “The governor has proposed the most modest changes, very modest. I think everyone here would like to see her go even further.”
Some Democratic lawmakers like Senator Samra Brouk are pushing for better housing and tenant protections they say will keep New Yorkers safe, rather than rolling back ‘common sense bail reform.’
In the meantime, a recent poll by Siena College shows how New Yorkers are feeling about key areas of debate.
According to the poll, about 72% of New Yorkers who voted support judges having more discretion on setting bail for potential violent offenders.