Mayor Eric Adams met privately with the two legislative leaders in Albany, and then met with Democratic members of both houses.
But in the end, Adams did not get any assurances that lawmakers will make the changes he is seeking to the bail law, or other criminal justice reforms. And the mayor later seemed to acknowledge he may not get what he wants.
“If they help me with this, I think we are going to get some huge wins,” Adams said. “If I am not getting the things I laid out in the blueprint, I still have the obligation to keep the city safe. That’s why we are putting in place our anti-gun unit. That’s why we are going to go after the causes and feeders of crime.”
While the mayor was holding meetings, supporters of the bail reform law held a rally urging Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to hold the line on bail, and not make any new concessions to the mayor.
“We know that bail reform has been a success in the state of New York,” said Assemblymember Latrice Walker.
Mayor Adams has called for the elimination of cash bail. Under current law, some crimes are bail eligible, others are not. The mayor would also like to see judges have discretion in the form of a “dangerousness standard” to determine who remains locked up after being arrested. That is what other states have done when ending the practice of bail-eligible crimes.
“Well we can tell you that we are all very concerned, clearly about crime,” Stewart-Cousins said. “And we also know that the uptick in crime is a national issue. And we know that we have done important things as it relates to criminal justice reform.”
Critics say Adams has gone about asking for changes the wrong way, including waiting a month-and-a-half into his term to meet with state leaders.
“When I started Jan. 1, I was a little busy,” Adams said. “So, I was on the ground in the city that elected me, and said once I get an opportunity, I am going to come up and speak with my leaders and talk with them. But I had my hands full a little.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul was in Albany, but did not meet with Adams. She said the two remain in close contact. The governor also said she is looking to focus more on public safety after they get through the budget, which is due at the end of next month.