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GOP tries ‘hostile’ amendment to end Cuomo executive powers

New York’s Republicans are trying to get state Democrats to take action to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his emergency powers.

Republicans in the Senate and Assembly plan to introduce hostile amendments on the Senate and Assembly floor to end Cuomo’s emergency authority. Republicans have said the reasons initially given for the emergency powers are no longer needed.

Sen. Rob Ortt, R-Lockport, said Republicans in the Senate and Assembly plan to introduce legislation crafted by state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, D-Bronx, in order to force a vote on Cuomo’s emergency powers.

Cuomo’s executive powers are to expire April 30. The state Legislature approved legislation last March that gave Cuomo the power to suspend laws and create new laws and directives.

“Just last week 14 members of the Senate Democratic majority, and also in the Assembly majority as well, 14 Senators in the Democratic majority said they would support the immediate rescinding of the governor’s emergency power,” Ortt said during a news conference Monday in Albany. “Fourteen plus 20 (Republicans) is 34, which is two more than it takes to pass something in the state Senate. We have votes to spare … Today we’re going to find out how serious they are.”

Since last May, the Senate Republican Conference has advanced the amendment to revoke the Governor’s emergency powers 14 times — including 12 times this year alone. The effort was blocked by Senate Democrats every single time. Only in the last few weeks have reports begun to surface that Senate Democrats were considering curtailing the Governor’s pandemic decision-making authority. And even still now, Democrats are dragging their feet.

A piece of compromise legislation has been proposed by Senate Democrats that Republicans and some Democrats don’t support. The Senate Republican Conference announced, during Monday’s news conference, their support for Biaggi’s proposal (S.4888) to do a straight repeal of the emergency powers.

Since last May, the Senate Republican Conference has advanced the amendment to revoke the Governor’s emergency powers 14 times — including 12 times this year alone. The effort was blocked by Senate Democrats every single time. Only in the last few weeks have reports begun to surface that Senate Democrats were considering curtailing the Governor’s pandemic decision-making authority. And even still now, Democrats are dragging their feet.

On Feb. 12, 14 Senate Democrats issued a statement urging “the Senate to advance and adopt a repeal as expeditiously as possible.” On Feb. 16, it was reported that Senator Alessandra Biaggi was joining nine Assembly Democrats in advancing this effort to fully repeal the Governor’s emergency powers.

“Governor Cuomo has grossly abused his emergency powers, resulting in the deaths of hundreds and hundreds of nursing home residents, the destruction of thousands of small businesses, and horrific personal and financial damage to millions of New Yorkers. How long will Democratic leaders ignore the nursing home tragedy and other mishandled aspects of our state’s pandemic response? For too long during our greatest hour of need, the Legislature has abdicated its responsibilities to the Governor. We were elected to represent our constituents. We were not elected to delegate all our power to the Governor to act as he pleases. We are calling on our Democrat colleagues to join us to rescind the extraordinary emergency powers given to the Governor last year and to put in place a system that restores checks and balances,” said Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown.

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