Two weeks ago, lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo were likely headed to a change in the state's cash bail law, which ended the requirement for misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses.
Now New York and the rest of the globe is staring down the barrel of a pandemic.
Criminal justice law advocates want the budget to not address the cash bail issue amid the tumult of the virus.
"We must preserve the historic reforms passed in 2019 and keep as many New Yorkers as possible safe during this pandemic," said Rena Karefa-Johnson, the New York Director of Criminal Justice Reform for the group FWD.us. "Controversial changes to this historic law should not be jammed through in a bare-bones budget that has been necessarily fast-tracked to meet an emergency public health crisis."
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, whose Republican conference has little power over the budget-making process, is also hoping for a bare-bones spending plan. In a statement, Barclay called for a budget "extender" that would temporarily fund the state for the time being and provide some flexibility for the coming weeks.
"Through either executive order or through legislation, the governor and legislative leaders should agree to hold harmless any consequences of a budget passed after April 1, and pass a budget extender to keep government running until the future budget deadline is established," Barclay said.
On Saturday, two lawmakers — Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Assemblyman Charles Barron — were found to have tested positive for the virus. The Capitol has been closed to visitors.