Democrats in the state Legislature scaled back on Friday Gov. Andrew Cuomo's emergency powers first granted nearly a year ago to issue pandemic-related orders amid growing calls for his resignation from members of his own party.
Republicans, however, said the measure did not go far enough in clipping the governor's authority. Existing orders will remain in effect, such as limits on public gatherings and mask wearing.
New directives would not be issued without legislative consent. Cuomo would still be able to issue executive orders as he was able to do prior to the pandemic.
The original powers were set to expire on April 30.
The measure was approved in the state Senate Friday afternoon 43-20. The Assembly hours later approved it, 107-43.
“I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now. 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,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “This legislation creates a system with increased input while at the same time ensuring New Yorkers continue to be protected.”
But GOP lawmakers said the measure should have gone further.
“The last time someone had this much control over the daily lives of New Yorkers, they wore the Crown in England," said Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco.
The measure now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk. He has not given an indication if he would sign it, but characterized the measure this week as a "deal" reached with lawmakers. Democrats denied he was involved in crafting the bill.