Lawmakers expected to take up legislation on Gov. Cuomo's emergency powers Friday

WNYT Staff
Updated: March 05, 2021 09:27 AM
Created: March 05, 2021 09:24 AM

The State Assembly and Senate are scheduled to go into session at 10 a.m. Friday, and are expected to take up legislation regarding the governor's emergency powers.

It’s happening as the governor is facing sexual harassment allegations, and a New York Times report that says top Cuomo aides rewrote nursing home data.

Gov. Cuomo’s emergency powers were originally set to expire on April 30, but under this proposed deal, his powers, with limitations, can be issued until the pandemic is over. Many Republicans believe the deal, does not go far enough, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt argues the deal actually expands the governor’s power.

“If they had had done nothing…if the Senate Democrats had done nothing, if they had continued to vote down our resolution every day that would have been better than this bill,” Ortt said. “This bill is a feckless shell. It is worse than nothing, not better than nothing. Isn’t this better than nothing? It is not better than nothing. It is worse than nothing. It doesn’t do anything to change the current power dynamic. It makes it worse. “

Ortt says he believes that the governor had a hand in building the deal.

Many local Republican lawmakers like Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh and Assemblymember Chris Tague argue that a “clean bill,” which takes away those emergency powers is what is necessary.

Democrats have also been outspoken. Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie sent out bullet points, in an effort to clear up misinformation.

Heastie says the governor had no role in building this deal, and he says the proposed deal would immediately repeal the expanded emergency powers.

Heastie says the governor will also have to justify to the Legislature if he wants to make any changes to existing orders.

Using a simple majority vote, the Legislature can repeal any executive order at any time.

Some Democratic lawmakers like Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner argue that with a pandemic going on, some executive orders are still necessary.

“As soon as the executive powers expire, unless we do something different, all the executive orders expire as well and some of them are still necessary,” Woerner said. “So we felt it was important to do it in a matter that returned things to normal decision making, but also did it in a thoughtful way.”

Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald says many of the governor’s orders, like the one that allowed retired doctors and nurses to help serve on the front lines, saved lives.

This is a developing story. NewsChannel 13 will provide updates as soon as they become available.  

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