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Mayor Eric Adams Tells State Legislature New York City Needs Funding To Battle Crime, Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Eric Adams spent over three hours on the Albany hot seat on Wednesday making an urgent request for more hospital beds to treat the mentally ill and improve public safety.

But as CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported, the mayor ran into some tense moments over his demand for changes to bail reform laws.

Adams wants judges to be able to hold people arrested on gun charges in jail without bail to consider the dangerousness in setting bail. He calls it a "tweak" to the state's liberal bail reform laws.

"Dangerousness is not a tweak, but it is a wholesale change," Brooklyn Assemblywoman Latrice Walker said.

During the marathon hearing that featured Adams repeatedly holding up signs with statistics to make his points, Walker was one of several lawmakers who challenged his call for bail changes to get guns off the street.

"Another one of my signs here, 2019 to 2021, the number arrested for homicide out on bail for gun offenses tripled, tripled. Your talking homicides. We lost lives," Adams said.

"Are you also aware that in 2019 95% of all people were not rearrested on felony offenses and since bail reform that number rose to 97%?" Walker responded.

The assemblywoman challenged the mayor to a debate, insisting bail reform had nothing to do with the rise in crime.

Adams had none of it.

"I don't think you should debate me. You should debate the 11-month-old baby's mother. You should debate the two police officers that we lost ....," Adams said.

"No, it's you who are making this a political issue," Walker responded. "When you are adopting the rhetoric of people who are male, pale and stale in this state, to say that racially, insinuated criminal justice reform in our country is harming our city? I just think it's wrong."

"I'm not using rhetoric, sister. You know I don't use rhetoric. You know my work," Adams said.

The bail reform debate took center stage as the freshman mayor made his first appearance, remotely because of COVID-19, at what has become known as "Tin Cup Day" -- mayors and county executives asking lawmakers for money for pet projects.

Adams said he wants money for more psychiatric beds to house the mentally ill.

"We now face a humanitarian crisis in our streets and on our transit system that threatens our city's safety and recovery," Adams said.

During the free-wheeling session, lawmakers asked Adams to guarantee the Rent Guidelines Board will not hike rents this year, and to make Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, a school holiday.

Adams, who was a state senator for eight years, said he plans to go to Albany next week to lobby lawmakers in person.

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