Where the NYS Assembly stands on nursing home reform bills, emergency powers

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When it comes to addressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers, New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says it’s something his members are still discussing. The emergency powers granted in March 2020 during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic are set to expire on April 30.

On Monday, Heastie was asked by a reporter if the emergency powers issue might be wrapped into a budget bill.

“I think any of that’s premature. I think right now, I don’t get the sense that the members want to handle this in the budget,” he said.

In the Senate, two options have been discussed. Senate Majority leadership has talked about a proposal that would require a committee of legislators to approve the Governor’s emergency directives before they take effect. That proposal has been opposed by Republicans.

Another bill by Democrat Senator Alessandra Biaggi would revoke the governor’s emergency powers all together. Monday, Republicans introduced the text of that bill as a hostile amendment, but it failed.

The Senate did pass several nursing home reforms like allowing compassionate care-giving visitors and a reimagining long-term care task force. But most of those Senate bills have no same-as bill in the Assembly. 

“I know our great chair of the health committee Dick Gottfried is working with other members to put together the Assembly’s package of bills. Off the top of my head, I can’t tell you they’re going to mirror exactly what the Senate has done or if they’re same-as bills, but the Assembly will soon be putting forth a package of nursing home reforms as well,” Heastie said.

If the Senate and Assembly pass a different set of bills, they won’t get to the Governor’s desk for signature. A memorable instance like this happened during 2019 when the chambers passed separate limo reform bills and lawmakers had to revisit the issue at the start of 2020 instead.

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