ALBANY, N.Y. - In December, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his 100-day agenda for the first three months of the legislative session. It included legalizing marijuana which was expected to get done as part of the State budget due at the end of March.
But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says not so fast.
"The governor proposed it. We will talk about it. But I'll be honest, I don't know if six weeks is enough time to get it done. If it can happen, great. But if not, we will do it when we can. More than getting things done quickly is getting things done correctly," Heastie said.
Cuomo has been pushing to include policy items in the budget, something the Speaker is resisting. On Thursday, legislators participated in a Lower Manhattan forum on criminal justice reform and ending cash bail in New York State.
The legislation is often tied to marijuana legalization since there are discussions about expunging the records of those convicted of marijuana related crimes. But other reforms could get done in the next few weeks, that are not connected to marijuana.
"I hope discovery reform gets done. Essentially relating to the evidence that one has or does not have before an accused goes to trial. Speedy trial to streamline the process so people will no longer have to languish in pre-trial detention for much longer, and what is one of the major topics of today, bail reform," said State Senator Jamaal Bailey.
Heastie says some of the reforms could pass as standalone bills before the budget is due.
"When it was just us in the Assembly, we liked to do it in February. During Black History Month, before association weekend, and hopefully we can do that. We don't have an exact day," Heastie said.
Insiders say one of the issues when it comes to marijuana is that Cuomo's plan greatly differs than the Assembly's vision for legalization. Both sides want to come to a compromise but do not seem willing to potentially hold up the budget over this issue.