Although they missed the midnight deadline for an on-time state budget, lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal Wednesday on a new plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget allows Cuomo to make mid-year changes, depending on what the state’s finances look like with the coronavirus pandemic bringing the state’s economy to a virtual halt.
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After months of strong debate, the budget will make changes to the controversial bail reform law passed last year.
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Under the new agreement, certain crimes that are currently ineligible for bail will once again become eligible. Last year’s law eliminated cash bail for misdemeanors.
However, judges will not have discretion to impose a “dangerous standard” to determine who stays locked up. That model has been embraced by other states.
The budget will also codify the findings of the Public Finance Commission. Last year, the commission was created to come up with a plan to implement a system of publicly-funded election campaigns in New York state, much like the city has. The commission also set new thresholds for third parties in New York, which could kill most of them, including the influential Working Families Party.
The findings of the commission were rejected by a judge earlier this month, who found the commission had no legal authority to make laws. But now, lawmakers themselves voted on them in the budget, ensuring they will take effect.
Cuomo was also successful in making changes to the Medicaid system, which means localities will pick up more of the costs.
And a plan to legalize marijuana ended up falling out of the budget, meaning it will not get done anytime soon.