State Senate and Assembly GOP again seek to end governor’s emergency powers

Posted 8 June 2021 at 8:16 am

Press Release, State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay and members of their respective conferences on Monday announced the introduction of a concurrent resolution that would terminate the state disaster emergency declared by Governor Cuomo on March 7, 2020 under Executive Order 202 and finally revoke his unilateral decision-making authority.

“We have repeatedly advanced an amendment to strip the Governor of his emergency powers and the Democrats unanimously reject it, despite it being clear that their sham repeal bill passed in March did nothing,” Ortt said. “Today, we have joined the Assembly to introduce a concurrent resolution that would terminate the state disaster emergency and remove the governor’s unilateral control once and for all,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

“We are in a state of recovery – not emergency – and it’s time New Yorkers are able to return to their daily routines and a sense of normalcy,” Barclay said. “The process has been long. Many lessons have been painful, but it’s time to finally move forward. Fortunately, the state’s Covid  infection rate is reaching its lowest levels while the number of vaccinations steadily increases. The virus is no longer stressing the limits of our health care system. We’ve made great progress fighting back against the virus and restrictions have been loosening for months.”

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, under the emergency declaration, Governor Cuomo was given broad emergency powers to issue directives and suspend and modify statutes, local laws, ordinances rules and regulations in order to handle the state’s pandemic response.

While the original order was set to expire on April 30 this year, Legislative Democrats effectively extended it indefinitely under legislation – negotiated with the Governor – that they claimed would rescind the Governor’s powers, but instead actually extended them until the end of the declared disaster emergency.

Most other states have ended, or have a plan to end, their state’s declared disaster emergencies.

Editor’s Note: Local assemblyman, Steve Hawley of Batavia, also issued a statement on Monday in support of terminating the governor’s emergency powers. Hawley said that as of June 2, New York state’s seven-day average positivity rate was the lowest in the nation at 0.64 percent, and hospitalizations dropped to under 1,000 for the first time since October 2020.

“In the wake of the decision by our state Department of Health and the CDC to largely let life get back to normal, we should follow the data and restore state government back to normal with all of the checks guaranteed by our constitution,” Hawley said. “Declarations of emergency should be decisions based on public health, not political expediency, and if the governor and the Majority also believe this, they should immediately terminate this state of emergency. If this legislative session ends with this declaration still in place, it will only be to secure the governor’s power, not for anybody’s well-being.”