• February 1, 2023

New York Legislature Strips Cuomo Of Extraordinary Emergency Powers, With A Caveat : NPR

New York lawmakers approved a bill on Friday to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of extraordinary authority to issue COVID-19 guidelines – a power he gave last year. However, the measure enables existing orders to be expanded. Cuomo is seen here during a press conference last month. Hide caption Seth Wenig / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

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Seth Wenig / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

New York lawmakers approved a bill on Friday to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of extraordinary authority to issue COVID-19 guidelines – a power he gave last year. However, the measure enables existing orders to be expanded. Cuomo is seen here during a press conference last month.

Seth Wenig / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

New York lawmakers on Friday voted to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of his extraordinary emergency powers, saying the current COVID-19 circumstances no longer warrant the expansive powers Cuomo was granted last year. The legislation also allows the governor to extend orders that have already been issued.

New Yorks senate and AssemblyThe two, led by Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, agreed to move on Friday. The Senate vote was 43-20; The vote in the assembly was 107-43.

The votes took place when two political crises undermined the governor’s reputation. At least three women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and its administration was found to be undercounted the terrible toll of the coronavirus on nursing home residents. These crises have resulted in Cuomo resigning and facing charges.

Earlier this week Cuomo apologized for acting “in a way that made people uncomfortable” but denied inappropriate behavior and refused to step down. The attorney general is Conduct an investigation into the harassment allegations.

Several lawmakers who voted against the legislation on Friday said they only did so because they believe it will not be enough to take power away from the executive branch.

“What else could this governor do?” Republican Senator Fred Akshar added that Cuomo issued around 96 orders during the pandemic. Akshar agreed to the bill and said, “It’s worse than doing nothing.”

The bill, which is identical in both houses, allows the governor’s COVID-19 guidelines to stay in place for 30 days. While this would deter Cuomo from enacting new guidelines without legislative approval, it would also allow the governor’s existing guidelines to be expanded.

Proponents of the measure said it was unsafe to suddenly lift all orders, noting that despite the arrival of vaccines, the pandemic was not over. Cuomo has used the powers to enact a range of guidelines, from setting maximum capacity for cinemas to creating color-coded restricted areas and imposing quarantine restrictions on travelers.

During Friday’s debate, several lawmakers called for Cuomo’s orders to be lifted immediately and for him to be charged with dealing with the pandemic.

“I support the impeachment,” said Democratic MP Charles Barron, stressing that he did not believe that the legislation goes far enough to remove Cuomo’s special powers. Barron accused Cuomo of obstruction and abuse of power, saying he would vote for both Republican and Democratic versions of the law to repeal the emergency powers.

During the debate on the bill, many lawmakers pointed to the political turmoil Cuomo is currently experiencing. However, when discussing the revocation of the governor’s emergency powers, many lawmakers also returned to a common theme: that their constituents are ready to get back to their lives and get back to their normal business.

“We are demanding to go back to work. We are demanding that our children be sent back to school,” said Republican MP Robert Smullen, calling on his colleagues to repeal the law that gave Cuomo powers last year.

Legislature gave Cuomo extraordinary leeway last year to issue new orders as New York faced a number of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought unprecedented disruption to everyday life in communities around the world.

The bill now reads: “Legislators note that progress has been made in the fight against the virus with the approval and distribution of several vaccines in recent months.”

Now that the worst COVID-19 emergency was apparently over, it was time to restore the balance of power.

“This is the last good chance that we can assert ourselves as legislators again,” said Republican Marjorie Byrnes.

The bill does not affect all emergency powers of the governor before the pandemic. But it also means that the legislature can end a state disaster if both chambers approve a simultaneous solution.

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