Hochul says now is the time for action on bail reform, despite criticism from both sides
Gov. Kathy Hochul appeared committed to adjusting the 2019 bail reform laws for a portion of New York State. She plans to use the state budget to reinstate some forms of cash bail, according to a leaked 10-point memo.
The decision to roll back the state’s bail reform laws has caused backlash from both political parties. After a week of silence on the issue, Hochul said what she wanted is simply to address public safety.
“In the climate that we are in right now, New Yorkers are asking for us to take steps to protect them.”
Changes included allowing judges to incarcerate those accused pre-trial and making many gun-related crimes again eligible for cash bail.
However, the state’s democratic legislative leaders were hesitant to make any changes to the bail reform laws until more data showed how it contributes to the state’s crime rates, but Hochul believed action can’t wait.
“New Yorkers want us to do it now. My opinion is time is of the essence and the budget is the vehicle to get a lot of that done. It’s just on our budget, there’s never been a budget like ours.”
Hochul’s budget took advantage of federal pandemic relief funds and higher-than-expected tax collections. Aside from criminal justice reform, other spending, and policy items including gas prices, education and COVID-19 have still been debated.
“We’re still very much at the table. A lot of time to talk about these issues.”
Hochul said she’s prepared for negotiations no matter how long it takes. The state budget is due April 1.