End Cuomo’s Emergency Powers by Tom Reynolds
Andrew Cuomo was given emergency powers by the state’s legislatures and, under the false claim of curtailing those powers, the legislatures have actually extended them. This should be a concern for all Second Amendment advocates since Cuomo is no friend of 2A and is infamous for using the governor’s powers to bully people that disagree with him - and those that defend 2A are definitely in disagreement with him. Both the federal and state constitutions are based on the division of powers between the legislative and executive branches and ceding legislative powers to the governor seems to be an abrogation of the legislatures’ constitutional duties and a potential danger to every citizen’s rights, especially those rights protected by the 2nd Amendment.
In the past, SCOPE has expressed concern about Cuomo misusing his emergency powers, so we asked state Senator Pam Helming for an update on the current situation with Cuomo’s emergency powers and the latest accusations of sexual misconduct by him. About the emergency powers she told us, “It is long past time to end the Governor’s emergency powers and for him to leave office. He has shattered whatever was left of the public’s trust… My bill to repeal the Governor’s emergency powers has been brought to the Senate floor more than 20 times. Each time it has been rejected by Senate Democrats.”
The Democrats had previously stood solidly in support of Cuomo but that wall may be crumbling. Helming added, “After a secret Democratic meeting and a shocking admission by the Governor’s top aide became public, 14 Democratic Senators were motivated to voice their support for ending these powers.”
The governor’s emergency powers would probably be intact and not under attack if it were not for the disclosure of lies and misrepresentation about Covid deaths in nursing homes and allegations of sexual misconduct. While these do not directly affect the 2nd Amendment, they may have the side effect of distracting him (and the legislature) from further attacks on 2A. So, we need to closely watch their progress. Concerning them, Senator Helming said, “Do we need a full and independent investigation into the actions of Governor Cuomo and his administration? Yes…While the impeachment process moves forward, the Legislature needs to do its job and remove his powers. The Governor has failed New York, shredded the State Constitution and trampled on the rights of law-abiding gun owners and every citizen of this state.”
Senator Helming continued, “Despite more than 15,000 seniors in nursing homes and long-term care facilities who have died from COVID-19 and mounting allegations of sexual harassment… Despite serious questions about state policies and the Department of Health’s oversight into the care of our elderly citizens… Despite thousands of businesses being forced to shut their doors… The Legislature has still not acted… Does the state government – Legislature and Executive – have the responsibility to respond to this crisis with policies and solutions that will protect our seniors? Yes.”
Helming concluded by pointing out that the Governor admitted that his administration “made a mistake” by not providing a fuller account of nursing home deaths in a timely manner when he said, “We should have provided more information faster.”
Curtailing Cuomo’s emergency powers may become a secondary issue as many prominent Democrats have called for his resignation. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has called for Cuomo’s resignation. Last Thursday, state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he's cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee to start investigating the governor, for possible impeachment charges. Last Friday, the federal senators from New York, Schumer and Gillibrand, both called for Cuomo to resign. So far, Cuomo has refused to resign.
It should be noted that when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, he gave as a reason that he had lost the confidence of Congress. Cuomo seems to have lost the confidence of the New York State legislatures. Will he follow Nixon’s example and resign? Although his possible successor, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, is probably no friend of 2A, it is hard to imagine she could be less of a friend to 2A than Cuomo.