Policy items dropping from state budget – for now

New York Senate
New York Senate
Mike Groll

Policy items dropping from state budget – for now

Child Victims Act, criminal justice reform, early voting are reportedly off the table.
March 26, 2018

With only a few days left for state lawmakers to finalize a state budget before the April 1 deadline, several policy proposals are reportedly dropping out of the negotiations – including the Child Victims Act, criminal justice reforms and early voting.

Other noteworthy proposals, including revamping Albany’s sexual harassment policies, providing capital funding for NYCHA and implementing congestion pricing, remain under discussion, according to NY1’s Zack Fink.

On Monday morning, the Daily News reported that the Child Victims Act had stalled once again, with state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan reiterating the Republican conference’s opposition to the measure.

The bill, which would extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases, pits the Catholic Church and its Republican allies in the state Senate against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Democrats and celebrities such as Julianne Moore and Corey Feldman.

Along with criminal justice reform, gun control has also dropped of the table, State of Politics reported on Monday evening. In his State of the State address in January, Cuomo had heavily emphasized the need to make changes to the criminal justice system, including reforming the bail system and speeding up trials.

On congestion pricing, another idea the governor has championed, Cuomo has said recently that app-based for-hire vehicles like Uber could be subject to a surcharge in the first “phase” of a congestion pricing plan, which is similar to a proposal that Assembly Democrats have endorsed. Scott Rechler, a Cuomo appointee to the MTA board, told City & State on Monday that there remained an urgency to address New York City’s subway system problems, and that state officials would likely move forward, if only incrementally.

“And so now, I think the only real question from what I’m hearing out of Albany is, what is that first phase?” Rechler said. “What’s included in that first phase? Is it just a charge on for-hire vehicles? Is it a charge on for-hire vehicles with the addition of some of these enforcement measures that help open up the street? Or is it both of those in addition to maybe setting the foundation to fund the infrastructure for the cordoning that would ultimately be needed for the full rollout of congestion pricing some time in the future?

Another Cuomo proposal – early voting – also appears to have dropped out of the discussions. The governor had mentioned the proposal only briefly during his State of the State, even though it has been adopted in a number of other states.

Of course, as longtime Albany observers know, little is certain until the state budget is ultimately voted on and signed by the governor. 

Or as NY1’s Zack Fink put it later on Monday evening:

Jon Lentz
is City & State’s editor-in-chief.
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