Even though another emergency bill will probably be required early next week to ensure state employees are paid, Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders say they are “making good progress” on New York’s weeks-delayed budget.
The three remain at odds over Hochul’s proposed reforms to the state’s bail laws and her expansive housing plan, but the governor said Friday that her meeting with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) was fruitful.
“We’re moving forward well… Following a press conference at the State Capitol, the governor stated, “I’m looking forward to tying this up in the not-too-distant future.
She continued, “We are working extremely hard to resolve the significant sticking issues.
The sluggish negotiations, held behind closed doors and primarily focused on bail, have already compelled the Democratic-controlled Legislature to enact two extenders to fund government operations and guarantee the payment of state employees.
As talks stall, another temporary solution will probably be required early next week. Two weeks have passed since the state’s new fiscal year began on April 1.
In her initial $227 billion executive budget blueprint, Hochul included several significant policy ideas, with the most contentious being reforms to the bail system that would do away with the need for criminals to use the “least restrictive means” standard to ensure they appear in court.
The governor claims that for judges to properly consider bail for major offenses, the law must be made more explicit.
Along with proposed revisions to evidence-sharing regulations, the proposal has garnered vehement condemnation from progressive Democrats and criminal justice groups who claim it will undermine 2019 pretrial improvements intended to prevent individuals from being imprisoned merely because they are poor.
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-Nassau), chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, said in a statement on Friday, “From bail to discovery, as a legislature, we have communicated our willingness to transform the criminal legal system to be more fair, efficient, and effective.”
Sadly, Solages continued, “the Executive seems more interested in another road that depends on the same backward-looking and discriminatory policymaking that has produced fractured communities.
Hochul’s plan to address the housing shortage in the Empire State, which focuses on transit-oriented development and establishes housing production goals for all towns and cities in the state, has also attracted criticism from politicians on both sides.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s desperate need for money, Hochul’s contentious call to remove the charter school cap, and environmental programs to assist New York in meeting its lofty climate objectives are all on the table.