Lawmakers call for governor’s emergency powers to be rolled back

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the wake of the Cuomo Administration’s nursing home data controversy, several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the rollback of the governor’s emergency powers.

The New York State legislature granted Gov. Andrew Cuomo the ability to issue executive orders to cope with the coronavirus pandemic back in March 2020 for the health and welfare of the public. With those powers due to expire on April 30, lawmakers have options: to extend them, not renew them, or vote to eliminate them sooner. While the chambers are not scheduled to be in session this week, Republicans have called for a special session to remove them.

“We’ve been calling on it since last year for the emergency powers to be revoked and when you think about it probably the policies will be pretty similar, under one-party control, but the difference is that the legislators will be held accountable to their constituents and that will make a big difference,” said Republican State Senator Sue Serino.

During his press briefing Monday, the Governor said the legislature can reverse any action that he takes.

“Not even by a bill, just by passing 50% of the Assembly and the Senate. They have never reversed a single action,” he said.

The law states that, “The legislature may terminate by concurrent resolution executive orders… at any time.”

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy said, while it made sense for the Governor to have the powers last year to make split second decisions, rather than have the legislature deliberate, it’s time to re-evaluate them. 

“The pandemic is definitely not over, but the emergency part is. So it is time for us to reign in the emergency powers, as well as re-assert the balance of powers,” she said. “So it really is reasserting the balance of powers that should be there.”

Fahy also notes that when it comes to the Governor’s executive orders, not all of them are tied to the emergency powers, and that many of them he would have been able to issue anyway due to his executive authority.

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