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Late NYS budget delayed further by a cyberattack

Governor Hochul announced a conceptual agreement with legislative leaders on key priorities in the Fiscal Year 2025 New York State Budget.
Mike Groll
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Hochul announced a conceptual agreement with legislative leaders on key priorities in the Fiscal Year 2025 New York State Budget Apr. 15, 2024.

The New York State budget, which is already over two weeks late, is likely to be even a little later, after the legislature’s bill drafting office was the victim of a cyber-attack.

Governor Hochul and state lawmakers say that the attack occurred at around 12:30 AM Wednesday, in the offices where bills are written and digitally printed.

Hochul, speaking on public radio station WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, says her top cyber security team is on it.

“This happened very, very early in the morning,” Hochul said. “ I have one of the top cybersecurity teams in the entire country. I knew that was a priority. So no one will do it better than we do in trying to get to the bottom of this attack.”

The governor says the bill drafting staff are resorting to computers dating from 30 years ago to write the bills the old fashioned way.

“We have to go back to the more antiquated system we had in place from 1994,” the governor said.

The governor says she doesn’t know at this point if the cyberattack was politically motivated, or who could have initiated it.

A spokesperson for the Senate Majority Democrats, Mike Murphy, says the staff is working on the budget bills, using the older technology, and he does not “believe this will delay the overall process.”

Republicans, who are in the minority in the legislature, decried the lack of information about the cyberattack, and the lack of transparency about a tentative budget accord that Hochul announced back on Monday night.

Senator Tom O’Mara is the ranking member on the Senate Finance committee.

“Here we are in Planet Albany under a cyber-attack in bill drafting with a budget that 17 days late,” O’Mara said.

Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt says he was told that the GOP might receive draft pieces of legislation to review, instead of the actual bills, due to the delays caused by the cyber attack. He says that would be unacceptable. Ortt says republicans, like the rest of the public are not getting details about what actually went wrong with the bill drafting’s cyber security systems.

“I have not had a direct briefing as far as what happened what's the risk what was what was the result of the attack and again where are we on the bill drafting piece specifically.”

Legislators say despite all the delays, they still hope to get bills printed and voted into law by the weekend. After that, they are scheduled for a two week vacation.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment and interviews newsmakers. Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.