Local Republicans weigh in on Democratic majority's proposed executive powers bill

Emily Burkhard
Updated: March 03, 2021 09:31 AM
Created: March 02, 2021 10:50 PM

ALBANY - Local Republican Assembly members expressed their feelings on Tuesday about the Democratic majority's proposed bill to rescind some of the governor's executive powers, which they think will fall woefully short.

Though the bill hasn't been officially introduced yet, Assembly members Chris Tague (R, Schoharie) and Mary Beth Walsh (R, Ballston) don't think it will help lawmakers regain as much power as it should.

"Does it go far enough?" Walsh asked. "I'll have to decide that after I read it but my initial sense just from reading about it and what's been presented already by the press is it's not. It's just not going to be enough."

"The only thing I would say about that is it doesn't address the executive orders that are already in place," Tague said.

Tague and Walsh disagree with Democrats who said a "clean bill," which would rescind extraordinary executive powers altogether, would "undo" the measures that are helping with things like vaccines and reopening plans.

Walsh said the Legislature could swiftly pass laws to assist those processes.

"I think that it wouldn't take a lot to go through them and figure out which ones need to be kept and which ones don't," she said.

Though executive powers are set to expire at the end of April, Walsh said they have to vote on about a dozen budget bills before then. She’s concerned executive powers could be included in policy language in those bills.

"I can't be assured that the executive powers wouldn't be extended as part of a bargaining, as part of a deal that was cut with the majorities," Walsh said.

"We haven't done a thing in the last four or five days of session, and we're trying to pass a budget," Tague said. "We need to move forward."

Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt also issued a statement which read in part:

"Our Conference has listened to New Yorkers' pleas to strip the Governor's powers. We advanced an amendment to do so 19 times. Each and every one of those times, not a single Senate Democrat stood with us in this effort to restore checks and balances to Albany.

Today, as they announced this bogus backroom deal, they turned their back on New Yorkers yet again, voting no on our amendment to remove the executive powers."

Democratic lawmakers have said the bill will be introduced Tuesday and could be voted on as early as Friday. Though Walsh hasn't been able to read it yet, she doesn't think she'll vote in favor.

"We will be ready to debate that bill, and perhaps we may have an amendment to offer that would put some more teeth into that bill," she said.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story.

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