Saturday, June 22, 2024

NY Legislature Strips Gov. Cuomo of Emergency Powers

'I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now...'

New York state lawmakers voted on Tuesday to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his pandemic-related emergency powers as he faces two disastrous scandals and calls for his resignation.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, both Democrats, announced thelegislature plans to pass a bill immediately removing the emergency authority it had given Cuomo last year in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency powers, which would have expired on April 30, allowed Cuomo to pass executive orders quickly with very little oversight.

“I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “We certainly see the need for a quick response, but also want to move toward a system of increased oversight and review. The public deserves to have checks and balances.”

However, the legislature still plans to keep in place Cuomo’s executive orders mandating face coverings and social distancing.

Enforcement of those orders will be left to counties and municipalities, according to the bill.

“A year into the pandemic, and as New Yorkers receive the vaccine, the temporary emergency powers have served their purpose – it is time for them to be repealed,” Heastie said in a statement. “These temporary emergency powers were granted as New York was devastated by a virus we knew nothing about. Now it is time for our government to return to regular order.”

Several New York Democrats joined Republicans in calling on state lawmakers to curb Cuomo’s power in the wake of his administration’s admission that it intentionally downplayed the number of coronavirus deaths in the state’s nursing homes to avoid a federal investigation.

Many have also called for Cuomo’s resignation, especially in light of three recent allegations from women who accused Cuomo of sexually harassing them.

“The pattern of sexual harassment and predatory behavior by Governor Cuomo is unacceptable, and I believe the women coming forward,” New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso tweeted in comments echoed elsewhere. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”

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