Assembly Passes Emergency Coronavirus Appropriations Bill

This week, we learned of the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus — or COVID-19 — in New York State.  

“The Assembly Minority Conference stands ready to assist in the prevention and containment of the coronavirus. We have seen the reports. We recognize the threat and the need for action. And as shown by tonight’s vote, we are more than willing to provide the resources necessary to help in this mission,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.

     Amid genuine concerns that Gov. Cuomo has used this opportunity to expand his emergency powers, the Assembly Minority proposed a plan that would require state officials to update the Legislature on the effectiveness and distribution of the $40 million effort we approved tonight. This is not only a reasonable request, but it is how a properly-functioning government actually operates. Unfortunately, members of the Majority rejected this basic level of transparency and accountability.

     Moving forward, I sincerely hope the governor is prepared to work with the Legislature in a manner that sets aside the grandstanding and dysfunction we experienced today. And I hope my colleagues in the Majority are prepared to demand proper legislative processes and full transparency, rather than serving as the governor’s rubber stamp. We are dealing with a serious public health matter. And the 20 million New Yorkers we are trying to protect deserve an open, focused and serious approach in every step of this process.”   

Under the bill, Cuomo will be allowed to suspend entire laws and local ordinances while the state is responding to certain emergencies — including terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tornadoes and disease outbreaks —.or the ‘imminent threat’ of one.

Cuomo is expected to sign the measure into law Tuesday.

New Yorkers who have symptoms and have recently traveled to China, Iran, or at-risk areas in Italy and South Korea, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has, you should seek medical care right away. Call ahead and explain your symptoms and travel.   Symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to the flu, and include coughing, fever and trouble breathing.

New Yorkers can call the Department of Health’s coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with any concerns about symptoms or travel. In addition, visit the Department of Health’s dedicated website for more resources and updates about COVID-19.

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