Senate Majority rejects amendment to repeal Governor’s power

Joseph A. Griffo

July 22, 2020

ALBANY — On Tuesday, the Senate Democrat Majority unanimously rejected an amendment brought to the floor by Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, Sen. Pamela Helming, R-C-I-Canandaigua and the Senate Republican Conference that would rescind Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s expanded powers, which have been used for over 140 days. The amendment proposed Tuesday would have removed the new powers granted to the Governor earlier this year.

This is the second time Democrats have rejected the Senate Republican Conference’s effort to strip the broad powers from the Governor, who has issued 54 Executive Orders, and has changed hundreds of laws since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, the Senate Majority rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Griffo and Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-C-I-Elma. That amendment would have stopped the governor’s unilateral emergency control after nearly 90 days, required the Legislature’s approval for continuing the powers and required the governor to transmit a weekly report to the Legislature during an emergency declaration.

“I am disappointed that the Senate Majority did not support amendments the Senate Republican Conference brought to the floor during Tuesday’s session and this past spring,” Sen. Griffo said. "New York State legislators are elected by the people and serve as the public’s voice in Albany. Given this important dynamic, it is imperative that a balance of power, as is provided for in the State Constitution, and a system of checks and balances exists between all three branches of state government.

“I recognize that we need to focus on saving lives during this challenging time. However, the livelihoods of many are at risk and much of the guidance that has been issued by the state has lacked consistency and created chaos and confusion amongst residents, businesses, organizations and others. It is disappointing that the Governor himself seems to contradict his own directives. For instance, while emphasizing a need to wear masks, maintain social distance and not travel to states with significant community spread of COVID-19, the Governor recently traveled to Georgia – a state included in New York’s travel advisory - and was seen without a mask hugging a local mayor. While many of the public safety protocols that the Governor is preaching are viable, he must lead by example.”