Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed fixes to the state’s disastrous criminal-justice laws were far from enough to assure an end to New York’s crime wave. Yet lawmakers this week have been working to weaken them further still.
We’ll be blunt: If the “fixes” included in the final budget turn out to be yet another Albany charade that only gestures at real change, voters should hold one person most responsible — Hochul.
The signs so far aren’t good. The state Senate’s considering a watered-down version of Hochul’s watered-down ask, and the Assembly’s still balking at even that.
Mayor Eric Adams has made crime-fighting a top priority, but without wholesale repairs from Albany to both the Raise the Age and no-bail laws, it’s a not just an uphill battle, but an up-cliff one.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins — both tools of the pro-criminal radical left — have been most resistant to changes. But govs have vast power over the Legislature; those with sufficient skill (and motivation) have forced its leaders to accept their top priorities. So the buck stops with Hochul.
Ideally, Albany would scrap its “reforms” and start from scratch. Under the “no bail” law, offenders are repeatedly freed soon after arrest. Isaac “Man of Steal” Rodriguez was nabbed 57 times through October last year alone. Last weekend, Adams said the NYPD’s anti-gun unit made 100 collars since launching last month, and nearly 70% of those arrested had a criminal record.
At the least, judges need to be able to consider a defendant’s “dangerousness” when determining whether to order remand (jail or meaningful bail), as in every other state. Yet Senate No. 2 Michael Gianaris said Tuesday his chamber is “not at all touching this ‘dangerousness’ question.”
New Yorkers plainly want crime rolled back: A poll this week found a whopping 59% say their lives would be better outside the city, with a majority blaming crime. Dozens, including the widow of a slain cop, rallied at Heastie’s Bronx office Tuesday to demand fixes.
And the budget is likely the last chance this year to get the Legislature to bend. For Hochul, who’s up for election in November, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
If she fails to get meaningful change and tries to put lipstick on a pig in a bid to fool voters, Adams must not blanche from shaming her. New Yorkers are relying on him.