Byrne Joins Barclay, Ra & Walczyk Renewing Calls to Roll Back Governor’s Disaster Powers

Posted: December 18, 2020 in In the News

                 Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,Ref-Mahopac) is pleased to join members of the Assembly Minority Conference in renewed calls to review Gov. Cuomo’s unchecked disaster powers which go beyond what was authorized by the Legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic. Byrne has also cosponsored a bill (A.10546) that would limit the governor’s disaster powers, increase legislative oversight, and local authority during future emergencies.

“I understand the need for the executive to have flexibility during a disaster, but this governor has already demonstrated his willingness to use the pandemic to increase his power beyond what was intended, at times furthering his own political interests,” said Byrne “Since March, Gov. Cuomo has gone beyond the statutory limitations of his emergency powers to implement and extend numerous directives. We cannot let these actions go unchecked for months on end. I am proud to join my colleagues in urging the Democrat leadership in the state Legislature to bring back checks and balances in our state’s Capitol and to restore the Legislature as a fully functioning branch of government.”

The governor assumed these emergency powers when Chapter 23 of the Laws of 2020 was passed. This legislation appropriated money desperately needed to address the COVID-19 outbreak, and included in this was a measure that added “disease outbreak” to the list of emergencies that would allow the governor to assume extraordinary powers. According to the letter sent to legislative leaders, “While the law granted the governor the ability to issue emergency directives, it did not empower him with the statutory authority to extend directives for an additional 30 days, which is permitted for the suspension of laws.”

            Byrne and his colleagues call in to question the legal authority granted to the governor, in addition to renewing their call for passage of bill (A.10546), which would restore legislative checks and balances and limit the powers of the governor.

A full copy of the letter is available here.