The coronavirus rate of infection has dropped to around 1 percent, regions across the state are opening back up, and now Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings are at an end.

Many state lawmakers are saying again, it is now time to restore checks to the governor's powers.

What You Need To Know

  • With the coronavirus subsiding in New York, some state lawmakers are calling on checks to be put in place on Governor Cuomo
  • Cuomo was given widespread emergency authority in March
  • Now Republican leaders are calling on bill to limit those emergency powers 

The state Legislature granted Governor Cuomo widespread emergency powers back in March, when the coronavirus was starting to spread rapidly in the state.

Lawmakers recognized that Governor Cuomo would need to make split-second decisions, in a quickly evolving situation that brought a new challenge every day. 

The bill was also tucked in with a coronavirus relief package, that helped give aid to cities across the state, so while there were those that still voted against it, many Republican lawmakers felt they had to vote for the bill to get money to their district. 

Now that the coronavirus wave is subsiding, Republican leaders are calling for a limit to the governor’s emergency powers. 

“We don’t think New York state should be run by one person,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay explained. “The Legislature is a co-equal branch of government. We have some very big decisions coming up, particularly budgetary, and we think the Legislature should play a role in that. So with COVID hopefully in retreat, this seems like the right time to pull back on some of those powers granted to the governor.”

During this time, the governor has changed well over 250 laws issued over 30 executive orders. 

This includes changing the mandate that schools have to remain open for 180 days to receive state aid, allowing hospitals to increase their bed capacities. It also included allowing the governor to spend around $3 billion on coronavirus efforts, shut down businesses, and order workers to stay home.

Minority Leader Barclay and other Assembly Republicans have introduced a bill that would require the governor to get approval from the Legislature to extend any emergency declaration longer than 45 days. It would also require the governor to communicate more with local governments when he does issue an executive order that applies to their area. 

Lawmakers do not have a set schedule to return for session, but do have the ability to vote remotely.