Senator Rivera on Yesterday's Vote Against the Governor's Coronavirus Bill

March 03, 2020

"COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has quickly become a serious public health issue worldwide. With the first positive case reported in New York State, everyone in state government is responsible for responding to this crisis swiftly by implementing necessary measures to protect New Yorkers' health.

However, the legislation we voted on last night was an attempt by the Executive to exploit an incredibly sensitive situation for our state to further expand its authority and powers. The legislature was forced to cave to the Governor's power-grabbing demand without proper vetting and debate under the guise of simple emergency funding to respond to a public health need.

As Chair of the Senate Health Committee, I concur that New York must be ahead of the curve and prepare New Yorkers optimally to face this public health emergency. I did not vote in favor of the bill because of the unnecessary stipulations of expanded authority attached to the funding allocation. Rushing a vote like the one from last night when the legislature is in Albany almost every day during budget negotiations is just plain wrong."