Albany takes long weekend as NY budget runs out, bail unresolved

ALBANY — Legislative leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul will miss their midnight budget deadline as lawmakers on Thursday prepared to leave the capital for a long weekend — with bail reform legislation remaining a key sticking point in the negotiations.

“We’re going to have a timely budget because we’re making progress,” said State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​(D-Westchester), acknowledging that Democratic Legislative leaders and Hochul have not compromised on the controversial changes in New York will achieve the 2019 no-bail law by midnight Thursday.

“We’re certainly … closer than we’ve ever been, and we’ve talked about it, so I have no reason to think it won’t be in there,” Stewart-Cousins ​​said, insisting on changes to the state’s bail laws will be included in the final budget.

Though the state budget deadline is Friday, the final $216 billion proposal must be approved by 4 p.m. Monday “to avoid problems with upcoming payrolls” for state employees for the new fiscal year, the bureau said by State Inspector Tom DiNapoli.

Stewart-Cousins ​​also said Democrats are “close” to solidifying a deal that would make “alcohol takeout” permanent.

The top Republican in the assembly called the Democratic lawmakers’ failure to pass a budget on time “embarrassing.”

“People in New York expect and deserve a budget on time. It’s a simple, no-fuss state government requirement. Unfortunately, Gov. Hochul and her Democratic colleagues in the legislature have proven they cannot meet this very basic expectation, and as a result, the multi-billion dollar spending plan affecting every facet of New York’s operations is hanging in the balance ‘ Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said in a statement.

Sign advertises bail bonds services along Atlantic Avenue near the Brooklyn Detention Complex in Brooklyn, New York, December 21, 2019.
The bail reform laws remain a major sticking point in the budget negotiations.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

“Another year of Democratic dysfunction has resulted in little more than an unnecessary deadlock,” he added. “Leaving Albany on March 31 without an agreement is embarrassing.”

“There are no printed bills, so what are we sitting here for?” An anonymous Democratic lawmaker told the Post Thursday morning. “The problem is, once something like that happens, everything could fall apart.”

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Hochul announced “productive talks” with leaders of the two chambers and “consensus on key policy issues.”

“From improving public safety to supporting small businesses, these are important and complex issues and we need to get them right. I continue to have productive discussions with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins ​​and Speaker Heastie and appreciate their cooperation and good faith approach to these negotiations,” the governor said.

“We are nearing an agreement with consensus on key policy issues,” she added. “New Yorkers should know that progress is being made and that we will invest the time necessary to reach an agreement that works for them and moves our state forward.”

Confirmation that the 2023 budget will be delayed came after a private meeting Wednesday night at which Senate Democrats were briefed on the negotiations surrounding the long-standing sticking point over whether to give judges more discretion to test the risk of potential harm from suspects to others before they are attempted.

“They’re trying to find a way for judges to weigh harm or risk without triggering the ‘dangerousness’ debate,” the Democrat said after being briefed on discussions between lawmakers and the governor over the 2019 New York bail laws was preventing the incumbent judges from having the latitude to set bail for those charged with misdemeanor crimes and most nonviolent crimes. “It’s a kind of distinction without distinction.”

The executive branch has proposed maintaining the “least restrictive means of ensuring a court return” for bail and release decisions, but allowing judges to consider the risk of harm as a factor in making that decision,” read a summary of the hearing . received from the post office.

“The Senate has countered with a proposal to allow judges to consider whether an individual or group of individuals was harmed in the alleged crime.”

Hochul has also proposed adding all suspected hate crimes to the list of offenses eligible for bail, but state Senate leaders have opposed the change.

“We’re probably going home today. There are no printed bills, so what are we sitting here for?” a Democratic lawmaker told The Post Thursday morning. “The problem is, once something like that happens, everything could fall apart.”

State Senator Mike Gianaris (D-Queens), the Deputy Majority Leader, said Thursday that New York City politicians would not pass a budget until after the weekend and admitted they were “still working through” the budget as he announced “progress.” big problem.

“We have a meeting today and then we are not supposed to have another meeting until Monday,” he said told reporters in Albania. “So I know staff and executives will be working through the weekend and hopefully on Monday we’ll be ready to pass some bills.”

Meanwhile, assembly Democrats held a separate closed-door meeting Wednesday night to discuss changes. Lawmakers, who asked not to be identified, told the Post a deal is likely to come, but details are still being finalized.

Multiple sources predicted lawmakers could go home as early as Thursday night unless an agreement is reached to close the criminal justice loopholes left by the 2019 law. And on Thursday afternoon, they packed up to do just that.

Friday also marks the start of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, and some members are having to return to their districts as petition deadlines are set for early next week.

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi is joined by community leaders and supporters outside the NYC offices of current NY Gov. Kathy Hochul to discuss her current position on the city's ever-increasing crime and bail bond reform. 633 3rd Avenue, New York. (
Tom Suozzi is joined by community leaders and supporters outside Gov. Kathy Hochul’s offices in NYC to discuss her current position on crime and bail reform in the city.
Matthew McDermott

“Kathy Hochul failed the leadership test — she failed to deliver an on-time budget, she failed to enshrine deposit reform, she failed to address high taxes and she failed to cut gas taxes. Kathy Hochul is unwilling to lead, unable to deliver and the result is more crime, more taxes and more tax giveaways to her billionaire friends,” said Long Island Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi, who is also running against Hochul for governor.

Meanwhile, Hochul and Senate Democrats have agreed on a measure to make criminal possession of a firearm eligible for bail if it is a repeat offense and illegal sale of a firearm on small bail for the first offense .

They are also working towards an agreement on the state’s investigative laws – which prosecutors have called overly onerous, while victims of domestic violence say they are too strict and result in cases being dropped or trials closed – Hochul included a provision that would loosens the standards for the submission of evidence for trials.

The governor’s proposal would “allow judges to review prosecutors’ efforts to obtain findable information and determine that the remedy for missing information must be proportionate to the cost of damage.”

The Senate responded with “language that allows the certificate of compliance to be invalidated when the invalidation is an adequate remedy or when the prosecutor did not file the certificate in good faith,” the memo read Wednesday said.

In addition, state lawmakers approved Hochul’s proposed “age raising” amendments to the Act — a key part of the 10-point plan and a reform sought by Mayor Eric Adams — that raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 have, largely deleted. Hochul advocated giving judges the ability to hold a case in criminal court when a person is in possession of a gun.

Currently, prosecutors must show a firearm has been issued in order to do so.

“The Senate and the governor have agreed to allow cases of juvenile delinquency through the age of 20, but no other changes in the law,” the Senate Democrats’ memo said.

Sources told The Post that a number of officials helping with budget negotiations at the governor’s office have tested positive for COVID-19.

“All Executive Chamber staff are following clear health and safety guidelines and are isolating in the event of a positive test. Gov. Hochul is tested regularly, tested negative today and is working around the clock to finalize a budget that will serve New Yorkers,” Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays said in a statement Wednesday night.

In addition to criminal justice legislation, negotiations by Hochul and state legislatures focused on opening Big Apple casinos and public funding to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.

Meanwhile, in New York this week, the eight Republicans in the House of Representatives tore up Hochul’s plan to amend the controversial bail law of 2019 as insufficient to curb crime and called for a complete repeal of the policy.

The legislation, which also changed detection laws, was rolled back in 2020 to expand the list of crimes for which bail could be set.

Adams has urged that New York judges be allowed to consider the “dangerousness” of defendants when deciding whether to arrest them at trial or release them from custody. This measure was not included in Hochul’s design.

And Democratic leaders in both houses of the legislature have repeatedly opposed more restrictive bail measures pushed by moderate Democrats like Adams along with Republicans.

“I think the general sense is that nobody in our conference wants to go backwards,” Stewart-Cousins ​​told reporters in Albany last week. “Absolutely not.”

“I think I’m ready to let the law continue as it is,” spokesman Carl Heastie said recently. Albany takes long weekend as NY budget runs out, bail unresolved


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