Yesterday both houses of the New York legislature passed a bill marketed as a “repeal” of the emergency powers they gave to the Governor on March 3, 2020 to rule by decree in response to the Covid outbreak. But the bill does no such thing. It tweaks existing law and lets the Governor continue doing whatever he wants.
Last March the craven, spineless New York legislature abdicated their duties and gave complete control of state government to Cuomo and let him rule with dictatorial power while they slithered off to the damp, dark crevices where they dwell. The result was 1,000s of avoidable deaths in the nursing homes, chaos in the schools, the enormous waste of scarce resources, and the needless destruction of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs. And we still ended up with the second most deaths of any state, only California with a population twice New York’s has more, and the second highest per capita death rate, only New Jersey’s is worse, and they did exactly the same policies as Cuomo did here.
Despite the new law, the Governor can still issue new executive orders. The legislators are making a big deal that Cuomo can only issue executive orders that are “critical” to dealing with Covid. What does “critical” mean? It means nothing, and this changes nothing.
If the legislature had done nothing the Governor’s special powers would have expired on April 30, the new law removed the set end date and extends his emergency powers indefinitely!
The legislators are making a big deal that the orders must be renewed every 30 days. That is nothing new. All Executive Orders must be renewed every 30 days. And the Governor can keep on extending them.
The only difference now is that the Governor must tell the “leadership” meaning Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, and chairs of the relevant committees, what he intends to do and he must “comment” on any objections they may raise. Does anyone really believe they will risk the responsibility of delaying or modifying any new orders he may issue?
Here is the critical test: If this law was in place last March would it have prevented the catastrophic decision to put people with active cases of Covid-19 into the nursing homes? The answer is an obvious, “No.”
Every single member of both houses voted on strict party lines, every Democrat voted “Yes”, every Republican voted “No”, 43-20 in the Senate and 107-43 in the Assembly. Of course, the Governor has said he will sign the bill. Why wouldn’t he?
Despite the obvious direct connection between their complete sacrifice of the duties they were elected to fulfill and the string of disastrous decisions made by the Governor, the needless mass deaths in the nursing homes, Cuomo’s cover-up of the carnage he created, his top aide admitting they covered it up to obstruct a federal investigation, and multiple credible accusations of sexual harassment, the legislature is still too terrified of having real responsibility for governing, and too terrified of Cuomo personally, that they are still content to allow him to rule as a tin-pot dictator and create absurd fig leaves to hide behind. Pathetic.