Assemblyman John Mikulin (R,C,I-Bethpage) joined colleagues from the state Senate and Assembly Minority Conferences in calling on their Majority colleagues to bring a vote to end the governor’s emergency powers at a press conference in Albany this week. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins had previously announced in the media she would bring such a measure up for a vote this week; however, her conference failed to introduce legislation in time for their bill to age through the Senate’s legislative process. This leaves the minority conferences with the opportunity to re-introduce previous amendments to call for an immediate vote.
“As a co-equal branch of government, the state Legislature has an obligation to resume its constitutional duties. It is now, more than ever before, painfully clear that this pandemic is beyond the scope of the executive branch, and the Legislature must join the judicial branch as a check in our governmental system,” said Mikulin. “Moreover, the millions of New Yorkers who elected every senator and assembly member deserve to have their voices heard in these representative bodies. In our houses, we are able to more locally focus on the problems and priorities this pandemic has brought to light. Without this representation and thorough debate, without all these voices at the table, New Yorkers are being shortchanged. It is time for our colleagues across the aisle to act.”
Starting as far back as the initial vote to grant the governor these emergency pandemic powers in March 2020, Mikulin and members of the Assembly Minority Conference have challenged the notion that the state Legislature should simply abdicate their complete authority to him during the pandemic. On the evening of the initial vote, the conference proposed an amendment that would have required the governor to report an accounting of all funding related to the pandemic to the Legislature within 30 days. It was defeated by the Assembly Majority. In May 2020, Mikulin and his colleagues again submitted legislation to limit the governor’s powers while also restoring the authority of local municipalities — which had also been stifled by the governor’s emergency powers. This, too, was ignored by the Assembly Majority Conference. In December 2020, these bills were also proposed as amendments and voted down by the Assembly Majority as well.
Following the bombshell Feb. 10 admission by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa that the Cuomo Administration purposefully hid nursing home death data to evade a United States Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, state lawmakers from majority conferences have spoken out about the need to rescind the governor’s emergency powers. Legislation was also drafted by a coalition of lawmakers from the majority conferences of both houses. However, this bill has not been acted on.
Assemblyman Mikulin represents the parts of East Meadow, Bethpage, Levittown, Island Trees, Massapequa, North Massapequa, Plainedge, Seaford, South Farmingdale, Uniondale, Wantagh, Westbury (Salisbury) consisting of parts of Nassau County.