N.Y. Legislature votes to strip Gov. Cuomo of pandemic emergency powers

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on June 12, 2020 in New York City. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the "Say Their Name" reform legislation, an agenda that calls for better policing standards in New York State in the wake of recent protests and in response to George Floyd's death. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on June 12, 2020 in New York City. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the "Say Their Name" reform legislation, an agenda that calls for better policing standards in New York State in the wake of recent protests and in response to George Floyd's death. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 12: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on June 12, 2020 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 10:20 AM PT – Saturday, March 6, 2021

New York’s Democrat-controlled legislature voted on Friday to remove the emergency powers Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) was granted last year to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The assembly voted for the measure 107-43 after it was approved in the Senate 43-20.

“The very bare minimum we can do for New Yorkers right now is rescind his emergency powers immediately,” Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-N.Y.) said. “This governor’s inability to see outside of his own ego cannot continue to go unchecked.

Under the bill, Cuomo maintains the ability to keep current COVID-19 rules and tweak them, but going forward he can not make decisions without input from the legislature. In addition, Cuomo will have to notify legislative committees and local governments and respond to their questions in many circumstances.

The governor is facing multiple sexual harassment allegations and major criticism for not releasing complete data on nursing home deaths from COVID-19.

“This amendment aims to restore oversight to the legislature by removing these extraordinary emergency powers that, among many negative consequences, harmed our seniors and led to the tragic loss of 15,000 lives,” Sen. Daphne Jordan (R-N.Y.) said.

Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-N.Y.) accused Cuomo of not being transparent with nursing home deaths because it would tarnish his reputation before the release of his book on leadership during a pandemic.

Democrat and Republican lawmakers argued the bill does not do enough to strip Cuomo of the emergency power he obtained one year ago in wake of the pandemic.

“But this does not go far enough at all, the governor has been exposed,” Palumbo said. “He has not properly informed us, he and his staff have lied to us. Why are we continuing to trust this man to be transparent and make decisions that are going to be in the best interest of the state? We need to restore control locally, we need to restore control to this body.”

Legislators will have the power to repeal governor related declarations of state emergency, but standing regulations will continue for the next 30 days.

The bill will now head to Cuomo for his signature.

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