ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In her State of the State address, Governor Kathy Hochul touched on the issue of bail reform—something Democrats and Republicans haven’t seen eye to eye on.
“l believe there are several things we can agree upon,” said Hochul. “First that the size of someone’s bank account should not determine if someone should sit in jail… even before they’ve been convicted of a crime.”
Hochul went on to say that bail reform is not the cause of a national increase in crime, but rather other factors have played a role including the pandemic. Even though she supports Bail Reform, Hochul says the law as written leaves room for improvement and wants to discuss changes with lawmakers during the budget process.
“We also have to make sure the law is clear for our judges about what their rights are and what their expectations are,” said Hochul.
Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco has been calling for changes to the law for years and has a bill that aims to get rid of cash bail.
“I appreciate the governor once again saying that they are going to reform the reform of the reform of the reform, but we have heard the rhetoric. We need action now and if it does take place, I’ll be the first one to support it—-real discretion for judges at a reasonable level,” said Tedisco.
Democratic Assemblymember Latrice Walker has been a big supporter of bail reform. While she said she appreciated the governor sharing the initial intent of the law, she stated in part, “I cannot, however, abide by changes to state law that would eliminate the federal least restrictive means standard for bail-eligible cases. The Supreme Court has clearly established in United States v. Salerno that if a prosecutor’s only “‘interest is in preventing flight, bail must be set by a court at a sum designed to ensure that goal and no more.’”