ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — During her State of the State on Tuesday, Governor Hochul laid out a robust list of things to accomplish this year to make New York safer and more affordable. Our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige got reaction from lawmakers.
Some lawmakers say Governor Hochul painted a rosy picture of where New York currently stands. She did announce a $1 billion investment in mental health to address crime, but others say the main issue is bail reform. “We’ve heard this rhetoric before, the time for rhetoric is over. Number one and out migration. When enough people leave the state who can afford to leave the state, U-Haul is doing great right now,” said Senator James Tedisco. During her speech, the Governor said she wants to make improvements to bail reform, but Tedisco says this is the fourth time she’s making changes to the law and that it’s time to repeal it. “The policy really isn’t working at all. We’ve gotta repeal it and bring in the professionals and really go back to the people that have some hearings,” he said.
But Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said he was pleased to hear the Governor say she’s open to making changes to bail and also supports the mental health investment. “I think that’s some thing that can be done on a bipartisan basis, we do have a mental health crisis in New York State, so I imagine my conference and the Republican colleagues in the Senate will probably get support from any of those proposals,” said Barclay.
The Governor also announced a goal to create 800,000 new homes in New York within the next ten years and pull back on zoning laws which Senator James Skoufis doesn’t agree with. “You know we live in a home rule state. We like our neighbors to be mayors and supervisors and town board members and they are best suited to determine local zoning and very, very, very local issues not the big state government coming in and telling them what their local zoning should be” said Skoufis.
Senator Samra Brouk is Chair of the mental health committee and says she’s thrilled with the Governor’s investment in mental health and hopes she will work on bills Brouk will propos moving forward. “You know I Introduced a bill that would codify cost-of-living raises for a mental health workforce every year tied to inflation. And I think that’s gonna be a key piece to make sure that there’s someone to open the door when you get to the clinic,” said Brouk.