Watchdog groups want to rein in emergency powers given to Cuomo for coronavirus: report

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A coalition of government watchdog groups are urging New York lawmakers to rein in emergency powers given to Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Four months after the state Legislature passed a law giving Cuomo the power to suspend any “statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule or regulation or part thereof,” watchdog groups wrote a letter Wednesday to Cuomo and leaders in the Legislature urging that the governor’s powers be curtailed, according to the New York Post.

The emergency law passed by lawmakers has allowed Cuomo to issue 30-day executive orders like the shutdown on nonessential businesses.

In a joint letter, Common Cause NY, the League of Women Voters, Reinvent Albany and the New York Public Interest Research Group wrote, in part: "As the state moves out of the most severe quarantine restrictions, we believe it is time to review and revise the delegation of power. Accordingly, we urge that the powers of the Governor be limited to a specific period of time and only extended as the result of legislative approval by the Legislature."

Cuomo spokesman Jason Conwall responded in a statement: "The Legislature passed dozens of bills since the emergency powers went into effect and the Governor signed many of them into law, but without the executive authority granted by the Legislature, we could not have successfully managed the pandemic and helped New Yorkers crush the curve of this deadly virus."

"While New York’s infection rate is now one of the lowest in the country, make no mistake: this pandemic is not over and we must stay vigilant as many other states experience outbreaks," Conwall's statement continued.

The coalition of watchdog groups is also calling on lawmakers to get back to work. They've been meeting mostly virtually to act on a limited set of bills. 

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