The New York state Senate is set to pass legislation to curb Governor Andrew Cuomo's enhanced COVID-19 pandemic power, officials on Wednesday night confirmed.
The bill will limit the governor's authority to supersede state law and create a commission of members of the state Assembly and Senate to oversee future orders by Cuomo. The law passed last March was set to expire at the end of this April.
“I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now," state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. "We certainly see the need for a quick response, but also want to move toward a system of increased oversight and review. The public deserves to have checks and balances. Our proposal would create a system with increased input, while at the same time, ensuring New Yorkers continue to be protected.”
It’s not yet clear when or if Assembly will act as well. Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses. Gov. Cuomo has pointed to a provision in the current law that allows legislature to overturn any order by concurrent resolution, which has never been exercised— Nick Reisman (@NickReisman) February 18, 2021
Cuomo has warned lawmakers not to do so, arguing this has enabled him to make key public health decisions.
It's not yet clear if the Democratic-led Assembly will act.
The move comes in the wake of the state attorney general's report earlier this month that found that the state had heavily misrepresented the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from 8,500 to the true number, and after the governor’s top aide admitted that the Cuomo administration covered up the number of nursing home deaths from the coronavirus last year in order to avoid prosecution by the Trump administration.