New York Lawmakers Work To Rollback Governor Cuomo’s Emergency Powers

Photo: Jim Bowen / CC BY 2.0

ALBANY – In the wake of the Cuomo Administration’s pandemic nursing home controversy, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for a rollback of the Governor’s emergency powers.

The New York State legislature granted Governor Andrew Cuomo the ability to issue executive orders to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic back in March 2020 for the health and welfare of the public.

With those powers due to expire on April 30, lawmakers have options: to extend them, not renew them, or vote to eliminate them sooner.

While the chambers are not scheduled to be in session this week, Republicans have called for a special session to remove them.

During his press briefing Monday, the Governor said the legislature can reverse any action that he takes.

“Not even by a bill, just by passing 50% of the Assembly and the Senate. They have never reversed a single action,” Cuomo explained.

Some lawmakers say while it made sense for the Governor to have the powers last year to make split second decisions, rather than have the legislature deliberate, it’s time to re-evaluate.

“The pandemic is definitely not over, but the emergency part is. So it is time for us to reign in the emergency powers, as well as re-assert the balance of powers,” said Assemblywoman Pat Fahy. “So it really is reasserting the balance of powers that should be there.”

The Assemblywoman notes that when it comes to the Governor’s executive orders, not all of them are tied to the emergency powers, and that many of them he would have been able to issue anyway due to his executive authority.

Both New York State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell have been outspoken about rolling back the authority.

Borrello says it is far past the time for the legislature to return to their “constitutional obligation” by being a coequal branch of government.


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