Cuomo to Sign Bill Stripping His Emergency COVID-19 Powers

Cuomo to Sign Bill Stripping His Emergency COVID-19 Powers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that he will sign a bill to limit his emergency powers as calls for his resignation continue to intensify over the state’s CCP virus response and mounting sexual harassment allegations against him.

“I’m signing today the legislature’s emergency powers bill, and I’m going to implement it today with a significant change,” Cuomo, 63, told reporters during a conference call, saying that cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus are dropping in the state.

The New York Legislature on Friday voted in party-line votes of 43 to 20 and 107 to 43 to pass the bill to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers, which were due to finish at the end of April when state of emergency ends.

Cuomo at the time said he backed the bill.

Any governor in New York has the power to suspend laws in a state of emergency. But last spring, lawmakers approved Cuomo’s request for additional authority to pass sweeping mandates unilaterally. Republicans have long opposed the additional powers.

Under the new legislation, the governor would no longer have the power to pass new mandates but it would allow the governor to extend or amend dozens of his ongoing COVID-19 mandates, which include limits for restaurant capacity, eligibility rules for vaccinations, the number of vaccine locations, gathering limits, social distancing rules, testing, quarantine rules and air quality or filtration requirements.

During the call, Cuomo said that restaurants outside of New York City will now be allowed to open up more seats for indoor dining from March 19—up to 75 percent capacity from 50 percent. In New York City, restaurants will remain at 35 percent indoor capacity, Cuomo said.

“The legislature has five days to review the change,” he added. “And we’ll discuss it with any members of the legislature or local governments who have issues. Legislature has the ability to cancel it with 50 percent of the vote.”

Harassment Allegations

The news comes as Cuomo repeatedly said he won’t resign after a fifth woman came forward with allegations of sexual harassment.

The fifth woman, Karen Hinton—one of the governor’s former press aides—alleged that Cuomo called her to his hotel room and made inappropriate advances. The Democratic governor has said the claims are “not true” and described Hinton as a “long-time political adversary.”

The fourth accuser, Ana Liss, told The Wall Street Journal last week that Cuomo kissed her hand, asked if she had a boyfriend, and made other inappropriate remarks.

Earlier, Anna Ruch, 33, said that she and the governor met at a wedding in September 2019, where he made unwanted advances toward her.

Ruch alleged that he placed his hand on her bare lower back, called her “aggressive” when she promptly removed it, and then put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her.

Boylan, a Democrat running for the post of Manhattan borough president, in a post published last month, accused Cuomo of making inappropriate remarks, and allegedly touching and kissing her without consent. She said he would go out of his way to “touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs,” compare her to one of his rumored former girlfriends, and once suggested that they should “play strip poker” on a flight from an event in October 2017.

Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo, accused the governor of sexually harassing her, including asking inappropriate questions.

Nursing Home Deaths

Separately, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, published a report in January that found that the state under-counted nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent, while the New York Post later reported that one of Cuomo’s aides, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to lawmakers in a private setting that the administration hid nursing home data last summer due to a federal probe.

The lawmakers in their letter said that the Cuomo administration’s admission of “withholding critical information, including the thousands of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, from the public and from the federal government” was sufficient to proceed with the governor’s impeachment, before the emergence of sexual harassment allegations.

“As socialists and as elected representatives, we must demonstrate solidarity in this moment and ensure Governor Cuomo cannot simply walk away from these accusations,” they said.

Cuomo’s office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment by The Epoch Times. His office previously issued a statement saying he “never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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