What could possibly go wrong this time?
Two of Albany’s “three pols in a room” want to fix the state’s controversial bail-reform law the same way it got messed up in the first place — through closed-door negotiations over the state budget.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) on Wednesday joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo in saying the legislation should get hashed out and included in the omnibus budget bill that has to be signed into law by April 1.
“You know, I don’t know that it’s gonna be possible to get done before the budget,” she told reporters in Albany.
“If we can change it within the budget, in ways that will enhance what it is we are doing, I think we ought to do it.”
Stewart-Cousins’ remarks echoed comments made Monday by Cuomo, who said he favored using the budget process — rather than the public legislative process — to amend the bail-reform law that’s now opposed by 59 percent of voters, according to a poll released Monday by Siena College.
David Friedfel, of the Citizens Budget Commission, said Wednesday any changes to the bail-reform law should be enacted through stand-alone legislation.
“It makes sure that constituents are able to reach out to elected officials before they vote and elected officials know what they are voting on,” he said.
State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy also said Cuomo’s “misuse of the state budget process to ram through serious and consequential public policy is exactly what created this debacle to begin with.”
Cuomo defended his plan to reporters when asked during a Wednesday news conference in Albany if it would be “transparent.”
“Sure it’s transparent, ’cause we’re having this conversation,” he said.
The only legislative leader not on board with Cuomo’s plan is Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), who has repeatedly said he wants to see “more data” before considering any changes to the law.
But on Tuesday, Heastie appeared less concerned about the impact of bail reform than with the way it’s being covered in The Post, where a recent column by Editorial Board member Michael Benjamin accused the speaker of having a “loose grasp of the facts of the law he champions.”
“I’m just saying the newspaper in itself, that’s whether it’s the Editorial Board, the writers … when I’m being called out by one of your reporters that I don’t know the law … I think that’s misinformation,” Heastie fumed.
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