At the beginning of New York State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s Legislature granted Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded powers under the Executive Law to issue Executive Orders. (Bills S7919/A9953). The Legislature intended to grant the Governor the ability to swiftly respond to the spread of the virus, and to effectuate restrictions to protect New Yorkers. Since then, New York and the rest of the United States have taken measures to control the spread of the virus and have begun the journey back to pre-pandemic life. As the State and the world continue to open back up, the Legislature recently acted to decrease the Governor’s executive powers back to those he had pre-pandemic. On March 7, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill repealing his powers. (Bills S5357/A5967). The new law specifically requires the Governor to provide a detailed explanation of how any new Order addresses the reduction or spread of COVID-19 or facilitates the administration of the vaccine. The Governor is also required to notify the relevant committee chairs in the Senate and Assembly of any modifications or extensions of existing Orders five (5) days prior to any extension or modification in order for those members of the Senate and Assembly to provide comments back to the Governor.
Despite this new law, the Governor continues to issue new Executive Orders, and some of the Executive Orders he issued in the past year are still enforceable. How is that possible? With respect to the bill recently passed by the Legislature, there was a specific exception for Orders related to the State’s COVID-19 response. However, the Legislature granted itself the ability to end a disaster declared by the Governor if the Senate and Assembly agree on a concurrent resolution. Such a resolution would effectively end any Orders then in effect.
As for the Governor’s ability to issues new Orders, under the provisions of Executive Law 29-A, the Governor continues to have the power to issue Executive Orders in order to temporarily modify or suspend certain laws in response to a disaster, such as COVID-19. When the Governor issues an Executive Order under Executive Law 29-A, the Order is only effective for thirty days. As outlined in the new law, were the Legislature to approve a resolution ending the temporary emergency, then the Orders issued under Executive Law 29-A would likely end as well.
Still have questions regarding Executive Orders and how they may affect your business? Our Firm has extensive experience counseling businesses and individuals as they navigate regulatory compliance, and compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders. If you have any questions related to this Legal Briefing or questions related to New York State’s COVID-19 rules and procedures, please contact any member of our Firm at 585-730-4773. Please note that any embedded links to other documents may expire in the future.
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This Legal Briefing is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or counsel. The substance of this Legal Briefing is not intended to cover all legal issues or developments regarding the matter. Please consult with an attorney to ascertain how these new developments may relate to you or your business. © 2021 Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC