Barclay: As COVID-19 threat subsides, Cuomo should relinquish emergency powers

Seen above, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, says "one-person rule is not how our system of government was ever designed to run" and is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give up many of the sweeping emergency powers he was granted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALBANY — As state government officials in early March tried to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic’s imminent crash upon the Empire State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was granted sweeping emergency powers to take control and lead unilaterally through the crisis.

Now, Republican leaders say it’s time to give up the reins.

“By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the state of New York, I hereby find… that a disaster is impending in New York state, for which the affected local governments are unable to respond adequately,” read Cuomo’s Executive Order 202, issued March 7. “I do hereby declare a state disaster emergency for the entire state of New York.”

With that order and an act of the Democratic-controlled Legislature to authorize his expanded powers, Cuomo’s administration temporarily reformed or redacted large portions of existing education, election, public health and finance laws, among others. Schools are no longer required to be open for 180 days per year to be eligible for state aid, for example, residency requirements for appointing public officers are suspended and all public bodies can now meet by telephone, provided there are public recordings of the meetings.

Cuomo has been one of the nation’s most visible and involved pandemic figures in the two months since Executive Order 202, holding daily briefings on the state’s progress and traveling to treatment sites from Long Island to Erie County. The daily COVID-19 death toll continues to abate, according to state health officials, and upstate regions are beginning to agitate for immediate relief from Cuomo’s PAUSE NY restrictions.

“The emergency powers provided to the governor were always intended to be temporary,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, in a Saturday press release. “As we see the COVID-19 threat begin to subside and we move in the direction of re-opening New York, the time has come for state government return to its basic principle of representative democracy.”

With the coronavirus seemingly on the retreat in New York, Barclay said it’s time to ask other, important questions — which have taken a back burner for the past 60 days. Some of those issues include what Barclay says is an impending $13.3 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year 2020-2021 and $69 billion in shortfalls in the next four years.

“When are regions opening up? How do we fix a $13 billion budget hole? What are we doing to help people and businesses fully recover?” Barclay said. “Answers to these questions need to be developed through a legislative process and in a manner that gives a voice to every New Yorker. One-party rule is rife with issues. But one-person rule is not how our system of government was ever designed to run.”

Barclay last week lent his support to State Sen. Patty Ritchie’s effort to bring attention to the plight of New Yorkers forced out of work by the pandemic, and the widespread struggles to crack what she called a “broken” unemployment insurance system. The Heuvelton Republican on Sunday returned the favor, saying Barclay is on the right track in trying to claw back some of Cuomo’s new authority.

“As regions of the state move toward re-opening and the threat of COVID-19 becomes less severe, the voices of our constituents need to be heard,” Ritchie told The Palladium-Times. “In the wake of this pandemic, it’s clear that our state will face major issues. When it comes to addressing those issues, it is critically important that the Legislature be part of process.”

Request for comment to a member of Cuomo’s press staff was not immediately returned.

(5) comments

[sad]....and the purpose of this release was to....? Of course he will relinquish his emergency power. Cuomo has led decisively, effectively and saved lives in the process. He actually leads THE NATION and not just NY.

There is no "one party rule" in NY. Wake up, Will. Your near sighted, devisive strategy is old school and not condusive to 21st century realities of a shrinking globe. Cuomo is a hero now so you had better own up to that so we continue getting the state aid for your brothers' high-end salmon rod business. With the DEC cutting back King salmon stocking your only project of note is in jeopardy.


In 2016 Cuomo banned unnecessary travel to North Carolina over their not passing a "same-sex" bathroom bill. He cited "human rights" as is reasoning. Our little king Cuomo then proceeded to go to Cuba, and vacation. You know Cuba? That bastion of human rights? The little king in Albany also told conservatives they weren't welcome in this state. You know? Demonstrating his inclussiveness and openess to other opinions? In 2015 the little king was warned by state health officials that New York was well short of ventilators, making us vulnerable to a possible pandemic. What did the little king do? He wasted over 700 million of our tax dollars on a solar panel boondoggle in Buffalo. You know, save the planet, not the people? And since our little king has been sitting on his throne, New York remains at the top of the list of states where people are leaving.

His majesty might be a hero of yours, but he is anything but.

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” DJT

Our Governor is leading New York and the nation in the COVID-19 response, whereas, Governors elsewhere put their economies ahead of their citizens lives.

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