SENATE DEMOCRATS REJECT REPUBLICAN EFFORT TO RESCIND GOVERNOR’S POWER & GIVE NEEDED HELP TO NURSING HOMES

With Legislature Back in Session, Senate Democrats unanimously voted against Republican amendments to restore checks & balances to government and provide funding for nursing homes

Albany, NY — With the Legislature back in session for two days, Senator Daphne Jordan (R,C,I-Halfmoon) and the New York State Senate Republican Conference proposed amendments to immediately end the Governor’s disaster emergency power and provide our underfunded nursing homes with a desperately needed $100 million allocation for testing, PPE, and staffing. Senate Democrats unanimously rejected both proposals.

The first proposal, sponsored by Senators Joe Griffo and Patrick Gallivan, would have immediately stopped the Governor’s one-man rule of New York State after nearly 90 days of control. The proposal would have put New York disaster emergency control policy in line with other states, which limit an Executive’s powers to 30 days, and would have required the Governor to receive Legislative approval for continuation of such powers. The amendment also would have mandated that the Governor transmit weekly reports to the Legislature during an emergency declaration and would have created communication between the governor and the parties affected by a suspension of laws during a state disaster emergency.

Since early March, the Governor has issued 33 Executive Orders and has changed 250 laws. In a March 25 directive, he ordered that nursing homes and long term care facilities accept COVID positive patients, a fatal move which is believed to have contributed to 5,800 deaths. 

Senator Sue Serino, the Aging Committee’s Ranking member, proposed the Protecting Our Nursing Homes amendment to direct $100 million in unused Federal CARES Act funding to nursing homes, assisted living, and long term care facilities to help purchase testing supplies, PPE, and hire additional staff. Democrats cut funding to nursing homes in March and today unanimously rejected the Republican Protecting Our Nursing Homes amendment to care for our most vulnerable population.

“Andrew Cuomo isn’t king. He’s governor, and subject to the same checks and balances and limits of power as any elected official. By mandating that nursing homes accept COVID-19 positive patients, the Governor’s reckless, irresponsible policy led to the deaths of nearly 6,000 New Yorkers. That’s not conjecture. That’s fact. Governor Cuomo needs to be put in check and his emergency disaster powers — powers that he clearly misused, from his nursing home mandate, to shutting down our economy and arbitrarily picking which businesses were ‘essential’ and ‘nonessential’ — must be rescinded, immediately. We also need a thorough, independent state and federal investigation into his irresponsible policy for nursing homes that caused this avoidable tragedy that claimed the lives of our state’s most vulnerable population,” Senator Daphne Jordan said.

Video of today’s Senate Republican press conference discussing the amendments can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QlDXMD_JXo&feature=youtu.be.

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