March 5 (UPI) — The New York State Senate on Friday voted to repeal the temporary emergency powers granted to Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chamber voted 40-20 along party lines to revoke Cuomo’s authority to issue new orders. The measure allows existing directives to remain in place with legislative oversight.
“I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now,” said State Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Collins.
“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.”
Republicans voted against the measure, saying the legislation didn’t go far enough to curtail Cuomo’s powers since it allows him to extend and modify the his existing orders.
“Make no mistake — in passing this useless bill, Democrats are not only continuing to abdicate their constitutional oaths as duly elected legislators — they are complicit with Cuomo in any crimes he and his administration may have committed while in office,” State Senate Republican leader Robert Ortt said.
As the pandemic emerged last March, the legislature granted Cuomo broad authority to issue executive orders critical to New York’s pandemic response.
The decision came as Cuomo faces separate investigations for an alleged coverup of the COVID-19 death toll in the state’s nursing homes and multiple allegations of sexual harassment.