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Albany Budget Deal Ends Practice of Charging Nonviolent Teens as Adults

By Katie Honan | April 8, 2017 7:49am | Updated on April 9, 2017 10:07pm
 Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a budget deal was reached late Friday, a week after it was due. 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a budget deal was reached late Friday, a week after it was due. 
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New York State Office of the Governor

NEW YORK CITY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal late Friday to pass the $153.1 billion state budget, which includes free college tuition for some students and a bill to end New York 's practice of charging nonviolent 16- and 17- year olds as adults. 

Legislative leaders agreed on the fiscal year 2018 budget late Friday, a week after it was due and following days of negotiations between elected officials.

Cuomo said the budget shows that "New York is once again showing what responsible government can achieve."

Included is the "Raise the Age" bill, which increases the age of criminal responsibility to 18. New York had previously been one of only two states that still tried 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. 

The bill was first proposed in 2015 and moves misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases to family court.

► New York May Stop Charging All 16- and 17-Year-Olds as Adults This Week
► City Moving 16-, 17-Year-Olds Off Rikers to New Bronx Facility, Mayor Says
► Mayor Pledges to Close Rikers Island in 10 Years, Reduce Jail Population

The governor said the passage of this bill ends a longstanding practice of pushing "draconian punishments for youthful mistakes" that have ruined many lives. 

"By coming together, we reversed this injustice and raised the age of criminal responsibility once and for all so that 16- and 17-year-olds are no longer automatically processed as adults," he said in a statement. 

The budget also includes the Excelsior Scholarship, which provides free tuition to CUNY and SUNY colleges to families making up to $125,00 per year, and $2.5 billion for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which will pay for local infrastructure projects.

The budget deal still requires the formal vote of the state Assembly and Senate.