Tackling subjects from housing to helping the mentally ill, on Tuesday Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State address since being elected to a full four-year term.
Even though it’s a political lightning rod, Hochul also said she wants to revisit the state’s controversial bail reform law — a key issue in her re-election battle that she won only narrowly.
“I would say we can agree that the bail law, as it’s currently written, leaves room for improvement,” Hochul said. “And as leaders, we cannot ignore that. When we hear so often from New Yorkers that their top concern is crime.”
What You Need To Know
- Hochul wants to make changes to the state’s controversial bail reform laws
- She also wants the ability to override local zoning to ensure that more housing gets built
- And she asked for a $1 billion investment in mental health treatments and resources
Tied to public safety is the state’s approach to mental health. Experts say the pandemic helped fuel a mental health crisis. And Hochul wants to add 1,000 new beds for patients at mental health facilities, many of which were taken away in the early months of the pandemic.
“Today marks a reversal in the state’s approach to mental health care,” the governor said. “And this is a monumental shift to make sure that no one else falls through the cracks. This will be the biggest change since the de-institution era of the 1970s. And I’m proud to announce that we are investing $1 billion, making critical policy changes.”
.@GovKathyHochul delivers State of the State address from Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol.— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) January 10, 2023
Hochul is calling for:
-No new taxes
-Changes to the controversial bail reform law
-Tying the minimum wage to inflation
-Invest $1 Billion in mental health, adding 1,000 new beds pic.twitter.com/isZb2j3qqE
The governor said that lack of housing is also an area where the state needs improvement. Hochul wants the state to build new units at a much faster clip, especially in communities outside of New York City.
And the state is prepared to override local zoning to ensure that new housing is built.
“When communities have not made a good faith effort, and prosper housing projects are languishing for no legitimate reason, the state will implement a fast track approval process. Because doing nothing is an abdication of our responsibility,” Hochul said.
.@GovKathyHochul unveils housing proposals:— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) January 10, 2023
-Replacement of 421a, which expired last year. No details, will work with legislature to craft a new program
-Ability to override local zoning to build housing in suburbs
-Give New York City ability to legalize basement apartments pic.twitter.com/jkcUVSpqmV
The governor delivered the speech from inside the Assembly chamber, a return to tradition.
The address included a pledge not to raise taxes this year, as well as a proposal to tie the minimum wage to inflation — something that’s been discussed at the state Capitol for years, but never adopted.
“I think our conference clearly is always supportive of increasing the minimum wage,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx the Bronx. “So the indexing of it, like I said, it’s a discussion. But the fact that you want really get out of this trying to fix the minimum wage every couple of years, it’s a solid approach.”
Another proposal the governor put forth is to allow New York City to set its own speed limit below 25 miles per hour. Now, when it wants to make a change, Albany must pass legislation. The new approach would give the city greater autonomy.
Reacting to @GovKathyHochul’s State of the State speech, @CarlHeastie was lukewarm on the Governor’s housing proposal and her insistence on no new taxes. Heastie says he will take those issues to @NYSA_Majority— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) January 10, 2023
However, he likes the proposal to tie the minimum wage to inflation pic.twitter.com/wA6LCcTc1x