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Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to roll back New York’s controversial bail-reform law hit a major roadblock Wednesday when the leader of the state Senate said Democratic lawmakers were “absolutely” opposed to the idea.
“I think the general sense is that nobody in our conference is wanting to go backwards,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) told reporters in Albany.
Stewart-Cousins said lawmakers had “started to talk about” Hochul’s 10-point public safety proposal, which the governor wants to be passed as part of the state budget due April 1.
But Stewart-Cousins also noted that “there were a lot of discussions before we did the original reforms” in 2019.
“And again, we’re always happy to look again, but we’re not going back to a place that we weren’t at before we even began the discussion on bail, ” she said.
Meanwhile, Assembly Democrats held a heated, three-hour caucus meeting Tuesday night during which progressive members defended the bail-reform law while moderates, mostly from suburban districts, said changes were needed, sources said.
“The Democratic conference is divided, though more favor no changes than those who favor changes,” one member said.
Those who opposed any changes include Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn), who on Tuesday said she was prepared to go on a hunger strike to try to block Hochul’s proposals.
Mayor Eric Adams has repeatedly called on state legislators to help him reduce the city’s surging crime rate by giving judges the power to lock up defendants based on their danger to the community and making gun-toting teens eligible for criminal prosecution.
Hochul’s plan, first reported by The Post, would let judges consider defendants’ criminal records and past use or possession of firearms before setting or denying bail.
It would also expand the number of offenses for which bail could be set and allow teens caught with guns to be prosecuted in Criminal Court instead of Family Court, reversing provisions signed into law by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.