Standing with Jewish leaders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced $350,000 for new license plate-reading cameras in Rockland County that are meant to help identify suspects in hate-motivated crimes.
Last month, a machete attack in nearby Monsey left five Hasidic Jews critically wounded. It was a license plate reader that helped identify the alleged attacker.
A spike in anti-Semitic crimes has opened a fierce debate in Albany about whether to amend a law passed last year ending cash bail for many offenses. Cuomo says he thinks that law should be revisited.
"I think something is necessary. The question is what," he said.
The governor stopped short of calling for hate crimes to be added to the list of offenses ineligible for bail. A bill that a Brooklyn Assemblyman is introducing would do just that.
"We are now looking at the effect of those changes and considering other changes," Cuomo said. "It's a complicated system."
Meanwhile, last week, the state Senate passed the automatic voter registration bill, or AVR, which would allow people to register to vote when they get their driver's license. But on Monday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said they may want to make changes to the Senate bill.
"We would like to see more agencies included. I know that the DMV and DOH [Department of Health] seem to be the agencies that are more prepared to handle it, but we would like to see more agencies included," the Democrat said.
"These bills have to be read and we have to understand what each bill says. But there is no conceptual issue on automatic voter registration," the governor said. "The Senate, the Assembly, and Executive have all said we support it, we are going to work together to get a bill. But it has to be a bill that makes sense, right?"
State leaders maintain they are committed to AVR, but unlike the voting reforms that were passed quickly at the beginning of the session last year, there does not appear to be much urgency for a quick agreement on this bill. That could push it into the state budget, due at the end of March.