McDonough: Emergency Powers Bill Offers Governor a Contract Extension, Not Rescindment

Assemblyman Dave McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick) today emphatically opposed A.5967 as an extension of the governor’s emergency powers, not a rescindment, as it fails to restore New York to representative democracy. Under the Assembly Majorirty-proposed bill, the governor still has the power to extend or modify directives that affect daily lives, such as limits on restaurants, schools, churches, bowling alleys and movie theatres. Further, this bill repeals the original expiration date of April 30, 2021, extending the governor’s powers indefinitely until the federal government declares the pandemic over.

“This is not an issue of politics,” said McDonough. “This is the rightful return of power and checks and balances to a Legislature composed of duly-elected officials. For months we have proposed legislation to fully repeal the governor’s unilateral powers and it was rejected. Instead we were given a bill that was merely a three-way agreement between Senate and Assembly Majority, and the governor. This bill does not strip the governor’s emergency powers; it offers him a contract extension. “

The only new requirement for the governor is he must notify selected Assembly Majority legislators about upcoming extensions or modifications to existing directives. In the past year, nearly 100 Executive Orders have been issued, and while the governor will not be able to issue any new directives, he has the ability to modify and extend any existing directives. After 12 months, Assembly Majority has yet to revoke or change a single directive. After passing this bill, the same restrictions currently on restaurants, businesses and everyday routines will still be in place tomorrow.