New York state lawmakers on Friday began debate over a move to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of emergency powers he invoked last year to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The effort came as the Democratic governor dealt with two major scandals: a cover-up of Covid nursing home death data by Cuomo’s administration, and accusations by three women that he sexually harassed them.
NBC New York reported earlier this week that the Democratic leaders of the state Senate and Assembly had reached a deal to revoke Cuomo’s emergency powers, which would allow issues like Covid lockdowns to be determined by local authorities.
The bill could pass as soon as today. Cuomo has suggested he is willing to sign it.
Cuomo has issued nearly 100 orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to debate in the Senate on Friday morning.
Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island, on Friday complained that the bill would not prevent from Cuomo from acting unilaterally and imposing many if not all of the directives he has issued under the emergency powers authorization.
Lanza, who said he will vote against the bill for that reason, blasted “one-man rule” and the effects from “when you have one man have absolute power over your lives” since last March.
“If I would have told anyone two years ago that we were going to stand by and let a governor to tell student athletes that they couldn’t play they” or tell students they could not put on a play “people would say, you’re crazy, no way, no how is that happening,” Lanza.
Still, the move to strip Cuomo’s powers underscore what has been a growing rift between the governor and lawmakers from his own party.