Updated: March 03, 2021 12:41 PM
Created: March 02, 2021 09:46 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The state legislature gave the governor emergency powers to quicken the state's pandemic response. Pandemic-related decisions could look different if a proposed bill to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his emergency powers is passed.
Local lawyers say the governor was basically given a blank check. He could make it out for anything concerning suspending laws or directives to businesses and more when it comes to the pandemic. While it hasn't been stopped immediately, soon it could be void.
"That blank check that you got now is not going to be valid anymore, but at the same time they've kept enough mechanisms in the law that will allow a significant number of his orders to continue,” Christopher Bopst, special council with Wilder and Linneball out of Buffalo, said.
Any orders that would manage the spread or reduction of the COVID-19 pandemic would remain in effect for 30 more days. It usually is, and every month the governor extends it. Under this proposed legislation he would need permission.
"He would need to notify the senate, the committee chairs, as well as the speaker of the assembly, the temporary president of the senate and give them the opportunity to comment on the extension,” Bopst added.
The governor can continue to modify orders that are already put in place like capacity rules, but they can't be extended without comments from relevant committees.
Bopst says what's interesting about the timing is that the legislature has had the powers to do this since day one.
"A response to recent allegations than it is a perceived need to curb this power because they haven't expressed, and by that I mean the majority hasn't expressed any real discontent with the orders that he's entered because they haven't done anything to overwrite them," Bopst said.
The governor's temporary emergency powers are set to expire on April 30. The bill proposed Tuesday would take these powers away immediately. It could pass as soon as Friday.
Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company