Legislative Leaders Introduce Legislation

to Strip Governor of Certain Emergency Powers

March 3, 2021

Late yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie introduced S.5357/A.5967 to terminate certain Executive Powers held by the Governor during the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency, as granted in March. This legislation (attached) is expected to be taken up by the end of the week following the three day aging process.
Attached is the legislation which:

  • Clarifies that any directive authorized pursuant to Chapter 23 of 2020 (establishing the Governor’s expanded authority), is permitted to continue 30 days
  • Establishes a procedure for the Governor to extend or modify existing directives provided the purpose of extending or modifying the directive is to issue a public health directive related to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Public health directive related to managing the COVID-19 pandemic” is defined as a directive certified in the sole discretion of the NYSDOH Commissioner to address the spread and/or reduction of the COVID-19 virus, facilitate vaccine distribution or administration, or require the use of face coverings
  • The above process in bullet two includes 5 days notice prior to issuance. Such notice would need to certify that the order is needed to address public health and safety concerns related to the pandemic, and be submitted to the Legislature, or in the case of an order applying to a municipality, to the leaders of the municipality for review and comment
  • Municipalities may adopt local executive orders unless they conflict with a statewide executive order
  • If the Governor certifies that an extension is needed to address exigent circumstances related to imminent threat to public health or safety, the Governor may bypass the 5 day requirement, but must provide information certified by the Commissioner of NYSDOH and an opportunity to comment 
  • No directive may be extended or modified more than once unless the Governor has responded to comments received by relevant Legislative Chairs or Municipal Leaders
  • The Legislature may terminate, by concurrent resolution, executive orders at any time
  • The Governor must provide on his website, in searchable format, within 15 days of the effective date of the legislation (effective date is immediately upon enactment) additional information detailing justification for emergency suspensions and directives