Lawmakers have passed an extension of the current state budget until Thursday, April 7 to keep the wheels of government turning while negotiations continue on the major sticking points for the 2022-23 fiscal year budget.
The extension ensures state employees will still get a paycheck after lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul failed to reach consensus on the state budget by the previous deadline of Friday, April 1.
Two of the disagreements preventing passage of a state budget appear to be bail reform and funding for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.
In 2019, the legislature passed a bail reform measure that eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felony offenses. Many Republican lawmakers have called for repealing the measure, citing cases of accused criminals committing additional crimes while out on bail. Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed a plan that would give more discretion to judges in determining who is eligible for bail. The Hochul plan would allow judges to take an alleged offender’s “dangerousness” into account when setting bail. Many Democrats, including Assembly member Latrice Walker, who sponsored the bail reform bill, say the “dangerousness” clause is discriminatory.
A number of people have also questioned the Governor’s proposal to give Bills’ owners Terry and Kim Pegula $850 million in taxpayer funds to help them build a new $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park.
Another reported sticking point is Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to allow bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages to go. Lawmakers are being told to get ready to spend a lot of time at their desks this week.