ALBANY – The Governor and state lawmakers finalized the state budget for FY 2019 late last night after weeks of negotiation without including key criminal justice, voting and reproductive rights reforms. The following statement is attributable to New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman:
“In their haste to pass an on-time budget, Albany has failed to deliver reforms New Yorkers have long sought. Weeks of talks between representatives and advocates held out the promise of bail, speedy trial, and evidence-sharing reforms, the adoption of early voting, fixes to the state abortion law and protections for contraceptive coverage.
“While New Yorkers are disappointed by what the budget did not achieve, lawmakers did listen to parents, students and advocates who fought back against taxpayer handouts to religious schools and a measure to militarize public schools and criminalize students. More police, guns and metal detectors will not make students safer, but they will teach kids to feel like criminals and thrust many of them into the criminal justice system. Students need more funding for counselors and teachers, not more cops and more weapons.
“New Yorkers will expect lawmakers to deliver on the people’s agenda in the remainder of the legislative session, especially given the Trump administration’s ongoing attempts to take our country backward. The New York Civil Liberties Union and our many members will be watching.”