UPDATE -- In a 107-43 vote, Asssembly members joined the Senate in voting to modify Governor Cuomo's emergency COVID-19 powers.
Under the new bill, the Governor must justify to the legislature the extension or modification of any existing directives every 30 days. He also cannot issue new directives. The nursing home scandal prompted calls to repeal Cuomo's expanded powers.
But some Republicans believe this bill is not enough. Below is what Republicans say the bill is structured to do:
•Eliminate the original sunset clause that would have led to the expiration of the Governor’s extraordinary powers on April 30. The powers will now continue until an emergency declaration designated by the Governor has been lifted.
•Allow the Governor to extend and modify existing directives, many of which have caused great concern due to their arbitrary and inconsistent nature such as directives affecting restaurants, nursing home visitation, weddings, schools and entertainment venues.
•Allows for a restructured comment process at the state and local level that is weak, without a mechanism for the Legislature to enforce and allows the Governor to continue to do whatever he deems appropriate. Additionally, only relevant committee chairs and majority leaders will receive notice be allowed to officially comment, which infringes on the rights of all legislators elected to represent their constituents.
Below are statements by local lawmakers.
Assemblyman Brian Miller R - 101st District
“Today, the Assembly Majority introduced a bill which claimed to revoke Gov. Cuomo’s emergency powers amid a pandemic, yet, sadly, this is not the case. This bill actually allows the governor to extend his powers every 30 days as he sees fit, giving him this power indefinitely. We introduced an amendment to completely revoke the governor’s powers, which was blocked. I don’t understand why the Assembly Majority would continue to protect a governor who is under multiple investigations and has lied to New Yorkers. In the past year, he has more than warranted a full removal of his powers. I am disappointed that we did not go further in helping New York recover from the disaster that Gov. Cuomo has created this past year.”
Robert Smullen R - 118th District
“As an eternal optimist, I was glad to hear Assembly Democrats were looking to finally remove the governor’s emergency powers. However, the bill they introduced today was anything but a revocation of the governor's emergency powers. It allows the governor to maintain control of the process, and further, those State Democrats are only interested in sharing that power.”
Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51, said, in part:
“Legislation is supposed to cure a problem, right a wrong, and provide help for those we represent. The bill passed today comes up short on all accounts.
“The businesses, schools, churches, and local governments in my district that have been looking for answers regarding the never-ending edicts, mandates, and restrictions coming from the governor will still have the same questions."
Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-49, said, in part:
“Given all we know about the mindset of Andrew Cuomo and the sickening corruption in his administration that we are learning about on a daily basis, for the Senate and Assembly Majority to give the most dangerous and powerful governor in America a new lease on his power is just mind boggling...
“The last time someone had this much control over the daily lives of New Yorkers, they wore the Crown in England.”
Sen. Joe Griffo, R-47, said:
“The majorities in the Legislature have touted this bill as a mechanism to repeal the powers that the Governor has accumulated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and to restore balance in government.
“However, when you look into its contents, you will find that this flawed bill is ambiguous and too interpretive, which benefits the Governor. While this legislation technically repeals last year’s bill granting the Governor extraordinary powers, it does not really revoke or rescind his ability to employ or utilize the powers that he has amassed under existing orders. At this stage, nothing short of a full, clean repeal is acceptable.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said:
“County government has been on the front line in responding to this crisis and this bill is simply a bit of political theater that does absolutely nothing to improve our ability to respond to the rapidly changing conditions in our community. If anything it will create more confusion.”
This is a developing story and will be updated when more statements are released.