ALBANY, NY (WENY) — In her $227 billion budget that she delivered to the legislature last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed $8.1 billion in public safety spending for the upcoming fiscal year.
Public safety is an issue Gov. Hochul has continually said is her top priority.
In her executive budget address earlier this week, Gov. Hochul highlighted her coordinated efforts with the legislature to strengthen New York’s gun laws. She said there are more areas to address and her budget proposals intend to do just that.
“We need to build on these successes and work to make sure that everyone feels safe, but they are safe on our subways in our schools, on the streets, places of worship, and even in a grocery store,” Hochul said.
Hochul’s public safety proposals intend to reduce and prevent gun violence, improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system which includes changes to bail reform, enhancing state police efforts, and address violent crimes.
Hochul also said she will work with the legislature on bail reform policy changes–that will likely be incorporated into the final 2024 fiscal budget plan due on April 1.
Some lawmakers feel the current level of discretion for judges to set bail is contributing to crime and needs to be addressed.
“We continue to have tweaks with bail reform and discovery reform, we need to have an overhaul of this. It really starts with giving judicial discretion to our judges to basically consider the dangerousness of an individual when setting bail,” said Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning).
While some other lawmakers feel differently.
“I’m not one that believes bail has been a driver of crime cause if that was the case, I guess New York’s bail laws affect the entire country,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Assembly District 83).
The first budget hearing to address public safety is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7.