ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - You may have heard about state lawmakers trying to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of his emergency pandemic powers. If a bill passes, does it mean the governor’s executive orders go away? Simply put- no, and it’s one of many problems opponents have.
Cuomo is facing the storm of three sexual harassment claims and calls for resignation. The governor has apologized, but isn’t stepping down.
State democrats are now moving to peel back Cuomo’s emergency powers. It’s the stated goal of legislation proposed this week.
But, it doesn’t appear the governor views it that way.
“The legislation extends the emergency power to the point where the federal government declares and end to the pandemic,” Cuomo said during a press briefing Wednesday.
The bill would bring New York back to original executive law passed four decades ago, which allows for a governor to issue executive orders for disasters like floods and fires. The legislation will, however, keep “disease outbreaks” as a definition that would allow for a state of emergency to be called.
It was expanded to include the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Under the new bill, Cuomo can’t add new pandemic directives, but can modify or extend existing ones with an explanation to legislative leaders. That’s a problem for opponents.
“This deal allows Andrew Cuomo to continue making changes to any order that already exists. Which already impacts every single facet of our lives as New Yorkers,” said New York GOP chairman Nick Langworthy.
Republican lawmakers say the bill also gets rid of the April 30th deadline, when Cuomo’s powers would have ended anyway.
“There is no sunset clause. That is removed. This can go on beyond April 30th. So for those who wanted the governor’s powers be rescinded, they’ve actually extended them.” said New York Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt.
State legislators can vote on the bill as early as Friday. Right now, it’s expected to pass.