The U.S. Supreme Court in a matter of weeks could hand down rulings that would upend abortion policy nationwide and a strict conceal carry law for firearms in New York.
And Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday insisted after a cabinet meeting that her administration is prepared to respond if necessary.
The rulings will potentially touch on what have been taken for granted in New York over the last half century: Expansive law governing access to abortions and strict regulations for guns.
New York state lawmakers and Hochul in the last several weeks have sought to address both hot-button topics, approving measures that include requiring permits for possessing semiautomatic weapons and new legal protections for organizations that provide abortion services in the state.
But a constitutional amendment laying down broad equality guarantees has stalled in the Legislature and it's not yet clear how the court will rule on the conceal carry provision.
The governor in a news conference on Friday said the conceal carry issue was under review.
"We are working with our legal team, our policy team, as well as the advocates," Hochul said Friday after meeting with her cabinet. "When they come back, it will be answer that has to withstand future challenges."
But at the same time, she did not want to go into expansive detail on a potential legislative response, though once again indicated lawmakers would return this summer if necessary.
"I'm not going to say now what we're going to do because I have to see whatever the rationale was for whatever decision they come down with," she said. "I also have no intention of telegraphing a strategy to the Supreme Court because I think that will be counterproductive."
Any changes in New York's gun laws would come against the backdrop over rising concerns with crime and public safety. Violent crime is on the rise in New York and nationally, and Hochul has sought to curtail the flow of illegal weapons into New York.
"To think the Supreme Court could do something that undermines that is beyond disturbing, but we stand ready to take whatever steps are available to us legally to make sure we will continue to protect New Yorkers," she said.
Meanwhile, Hochul acknowledged the constitutional amendment for equality protections will likely have to wait until next year — pushing back the time table for when a potential change could be adopted.
Hochul, running for a full term, has campaigned heavily in recent weeks on preserving access to abortion in the state. She touted her support for the amendment as well as support for preserving access to abortion.
"I hope we can pull together during this time they're out of session and start next January on an approach that both the Senate and Assembly can agree with," she said. "I also caution elections have consequences. not likely, but that's the extra protection a constitutional amendment affords."
Her comments came hours after her election bid was endorsed Friday by the Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC.
“New York has a proud legacy of advancing reproductive health care, but nationally we’ve reached a crisis point because anti-abortion groups and politicians have worked on a coordinated strategy for decades to undermine our rights,” said Georgana Hanson, the PAC's interim chair. “New Yorkers need a champion like Governor Kathy Hochul who knows how to meet this moment, lead, and do everything in her power to protect and expand access to abortion and reproductive health care. Governor Hochul is a proven leader in the fight for reproductive freedom.”