April 4, 2022
ALBANY, NY – The state legislature was supposed to have their budget done on Friday April 1, and it’s still not done. There are two issues that Governor Kathy Hochul, State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assembly Speaker Karl Heastie could not agree on so far: making changes to Bail Reform and making changes to Discovery Reform.
Bail Reform was passed in 2019 and Discovery Reform was passed in 2020. The governor has been pushing for changes to bail reform and the state senate and state assembly democrats have been against it.
As for discovery reform: discovery is the legal term for the process when defense attorneys and prosecutors exchange witness lists and talk about the evidence that’s going to be introduced from both sides. The complaint from D.A.’s about discovery reform has been that the defense attorneys could tell their clients, some of whom were reportedly violent suspects, who going to be testifying against them.
Upstate and local istrict attorneys say, that with bail reform allowing violent suspects released, this led to more witness intimidation. One other change the governor wanted to make to discovery reform, was that there was too much paperwork for police on minor arrests and traffic tickets. There has been no agreement on any of these issues, and that’s why there’s no budget agreement so far.