ALBANY, NY (WENY) — This week the Senate and the Assembly release their one-house budget resolutions, not including the governor’s proposal that would eliminate the least restrictive standard for judges to set bail.
Some Democratic lawmakers said judges have plenty of discretion and New Yorker’s bail laws are not a main driver of crime.
“We are investing, I think, our resources in all areas that will help to combat crime. So, again, what I want to do is to put the focus, put the emphasis, where it belongs,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35th Senate District).
Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins said to combat crime, the legislature should be more centered toward investing funds into mental health, crime and violence prevention programs, and education.
While some Republican lawmakers support investing in these programs, they said the level of discretion judges have to set bail is tied to levels of crime.
“Judges do not have discretion. Find a judge that will tell you they have discretion, they do not. The least restrictive means, that language, that’s literally what the law says. The least restrictive means is almost always not releasing them either with an ankle monitor or whatever it means. But it’s, they’re on the street,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-62nd Senate District).
Some lawmakers said this issue is going to be a tough fight in negotiations with the governor.