New York State lawmakers voted to repeal Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency executive powers on Friday (March 5), CNN reported.
“Today, under this new legislation the governor will no longer be able to issue any new directives, period,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “In light of recent events, however, it is clear that we need to move toward a system of increased oversight, review and verification between the legislature and the executive branch, and also limit the powers granted to the governor.”
Cuomo was granted temporary execuitve powers at the start of the pandemic to issue directives that would hope “to issue unilateral directives for the pandemic emergency.”
With the passing of the Senate bill, the governor can still issue orders, but they will only last a month. Extensions or modifications must be approved by the legislature, who has the power to undo the state of the emergency.
“A year into the pandemic, and as New Yorkers receive the vaccine, the temporary emergency powers have served their purpose – it is time for them to be repealed,” Speaker Carl E. Heastie said. “These temporary emergency powers were granted as New York was devastated by a virus we knew nothing about. Now, it is time for our government to return to regular order.”
The bill will now go through the State Assembly, which is expected to pass it. Cuomo suggested he has no problems signing it.
The cancellation of Cuomo’s emergency executive power come as he faces scrutiny for his miscalculation of COVID-19 nursing home deaths as well as sexual harassment allegations.
The governor admitted to downplaying the number of people of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19. He was also accused of misconduct by three women, who claimed he made inappropriate remarks and attempted to touch them. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said of his alleged actions. “It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
Governor Cuomo said he would “fully cooperate” in the forthcoming investigation that will be overseen by New York State Attorney General, Letitia James. He insists he will not step down from his gubernatorial position.