Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a tentative deal on the New York state budget, which includes some major concessions on bail reform.
The budget, which is 29 days past due and counting, was held up in the fight over bail reform, a topic that has divided the state and fractured the Democratic Party.
Hochul has said she believes judges deserve more authority and are giving them that discretion by removing the "Least Restrictive Standard," which required judges to release people with the least restrictive conditions necessary to assure they would come back to court.
The agreement also invests $40M into additional public defenders, a pay increase for those who work in those jobs, and invests over $1B in mental health, in the hopes of driving down crime.
Other big-ticket items addressed in the budget include:
- Providing $1B to help ease the burden of the state's migrant crisis
- Raising the minimum wage in New York City, Long Island and Westchester to $17 by 2026
- Allowing 14 new charter schools in New York City under what is known as "zombie licenses"
- Expanding access to childcare and the child care credit
- Spending $34.5B on education, including over $100M for free school meals
- Increasing the state's cigarette tax from $1 to $5.35, making it the highest per-pack tax in the nation
- Launching a pilot program that calls for five free bus routes in the city.
Hochul says she believes lawmakers have found consensus on many major decisions, soil votes can happen soon.