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State leaders have before the legislature a bill that would end Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic powers early, possibly as early as next week The bill was distributed on Tuesday, March 2, for vote on Friday, March 5.
In March, the legislature gave Cuomo powers to issue executive orders to help fight the Covid pandemic. At the time, New York City in particular, and New York State were considered hotbeds of the coronavirus, leading the country in infections and deaths. Under the original powers, Cuomo was allowed to unilaterally make decisions such as mandating masks, limiting capacity of restaurants and closing other businesses, and organizing vaccine distribution. The power to issue executive orders was originally to end by April 30.
If passed, the law would allow some of the existing directives to continue within the first 30 days after passage, such as the statewide mask mandates and measures implemented to facilitate vaccinations. Beyond that, Cuomo would need to get permission from lawmakers to extend or modify actions.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D- Bronx) are sponsoring the bill. If passed by both houses of the Legislature, it would immediately repeal the powers granted to Cuomo last March.
“I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now,” said Stewart-Cousins in a statement. “ 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.”