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Democrats continue rallying against making changes to 2019 bail reforms: Hochul wants more flexibility for judges

Democrats in Senate and Assembly are fighting proposed changes to the state’s bail reform law made in last year’s budget. Hundreds rallied in the state Capitol on Wednesday to show their support for the law, which was enacted in 2019 to correct inequities in the criminal justice system for low-income New Yorkers.


The changes proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul in her executive budget proposal have been met with resistance from lawmakers and advocates who argue that the law has been successful and reducing the number of people sent to jail while awaiting trial and helping prevent low-income families from sliding deeper into poverty. The proposed changes would remove a standard judges use to decide how and when to set bail, especially for more serious crimes and repeat offenses.


The tension between Governor Hochul and the Legislature is expected to increase as disagreements over bail reform changes are likely to be a central sticking point during the ongoing negotiations for the state budget, which is due on April 1. While some moderate Democrats support more tweaks to the law, many Democratic lawmakers stand staunchly against amending the law after rollbacks made in last year’s budget.

Republican lawmakers are calling for a full repeal of the 2019 bail reform law. They support the Governor’s proposed tweak, but say it won’t be enough for their members to support the measure. The Governor is prepared to go past the April 1 deadline if it means the final spending plan includes the bail changes she wants.



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