Emergency powers bill could be taken up tomorrow

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Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers are a hot topic of discussion in Albany. And legislation put up by Democratic leadership is expected to pass through the state legislature as early as tomorrow. 

The legislation would block the Governor from issuing new directives. However, it would allow him to extend or to modify existing orders provided that he gives notice to the legislature, and they have time to review it. “We are still in the thick of a pandemic, but the emergency part is over. So we have spent weeks debating how to do this,” said Democrat Assemblywoman Pat Fahy who is cosponsoring the bill.

Under the proposal, the Governor has the ability to make modifications and extensions to current directives every thirty days, and those changes need to be sent to committee chairs, and the leadership of the chambers at least 5 days ahead of time with an explanation, and the chance for them to give feedback.  

Meanwhile Republicans and some Democrats have pushed for a total revocation of the Governor’s emergency powers. 

This afternoon NY GOP Chair Nick Langworthy blasted the current deal at hand. “Only in Albany in New York, can you have a Governor who is under two major investigations, two very dark storm clouds over his tenure as Governor and then the legislature gives him a contract extension,” Langworthy said. 

Republican Assemblyman Rob Smullen says the legislature should take all of the directives and ‘zero them out.’ “And, then with the legislature in session go line by line, directive by directive and vote and explain to all of our people why their freedoms, why their liberties have been taken for the last year, and decide which ones are necessary for the public health and safety,” said Smullen.

Meanwhile, Fahy says the legislation says it is about preventing disruption. She also says the legislature can repeal the Governor’s orders at any time by a majority vote. “There are a number of orders out there on vaccines, the fact that they can be done in gymnasiums or done in pharmacies, those are things that have not been legislated… if we rescinded every order when we take up this bill tomorrow, we could potentially disrupt vaccines. That is the last thing anybody wants to do,” she said. 

The proposal has no specific end date, but it allows the legislature to terminate the state of emergency at any time.

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