Republicans push to remove Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers again


February 15, 2021- Albany, NY- Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State lawmakers are at odds over what to do about the Governor’s emergency powers due to expire at the end of April. While some want a full removal of the powers granted to him last March to help cope with the pandemic, others are looking at a rollback. Republicans in both chambers are introducing a hostile amendment to rescind the Governor’s emergency powers. What’s interesting is that the text stems from a Democrat’s bill.

“I’m going to be introducing Senator Biaggi’s bill as a hostile amendment on the floor today for a straight up vote,” said NYS Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt. 

That was the call Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt made this afternoon. Democrat Senator Alessandra Biaggi’s bill to revoke the extension of Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers is co-sponsored by several Republicans. But, Majority leadership would need to take it to the floor. Last week Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris told us separate legislation was in the works to roll back the Governor’s powers. “We are proposing that there be a committee of legislators who would be required to approve any directives before they take effect, which is a lot better than what we have now, which is that these directives happen absence some kind of override at a later date,” he said.

But, Republicans have taken issue with the commission aspect of that proposal. Because they don’t set the agenda of what does to the floor, they have advanced hostile amendments to remove the Governor’s emergency powers several times. “We strongly oppose and I assume the Senate Minority opposes is some sort of commission where you’re just transferring the executive power to the legislative leaders. And that would still cut out the rank-and-file members… that’s why we want just a straight repeal of the Governor’s executive powers. Everybody ought to have a voice in that,” Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay said. 

We’ve reached out to a spokesperson for Senator Biaggi, to see what her thoughts are on Republicans using the text of her bill as a hostile amendment and are waiting to hear back. 

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