ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — It’s been nearly two years since New York has led the fight against the coronavirus, but as the virus evolves so does the battle. On Monday, Governor Hochul announced she will not be extending COVID emergency powers which she’s held onto since former Governor Cuomo left office in August of last year.
Republican lawmakers have consistently asked for the removal of these powers, including Senator James Tedisco. “Now we’ve reached the point where it makes absolutely, positively no sense to extend them and she knows it’s an embarrassment to have those queen-like powers,” said Tedisco.
Emergency powers give the Governor authority to declare a state of emergency, but now that the circumstances surrounding COVID have changed, so have the emergency powers.
“Given that we are in a different place now even making announcements about taking masks off on public transportation we have a new booster shot as a few days ago so we’re watching the numbers right now we’re feeling comfortable that we can suspend them, we haven’t following the normal procurement rules for some time, but this allowed us some extraordinary measures that we won’t need right now,” said Hochul. The Governor explained that her administration has been studying the number of COVID cases especially when school started last week, with those numbers being stable Hochul says she feels comfortable relinquishing those powers which will expire by midnight tonight.
Republicans lawmakers have said the emergency powers defeats the purpose of having elected officials. Senator Tedisco says the change is welcomed, but it’s too little, too late, “It’s already impacted hundreds and thousands, millions of our young children they’re behind by years five, ten, 15 some say 30 years behind in their educational structure because of something that actually didn’t work. The masks weren’t as effective…”
Tedisco says even with these powers expiring the Republicans party is concerned moving forward, “Many times during the course of this COVID virus we had the ability… to come back, take control and make some decisions. Our colleagues in the majority at any point, at just a suggestion she wants them back will just hand them over to her.”
Governor Hochul says if circumstances change with COVID, the state has all the necessary resources to respond to any outbreaks.