Rule By Executive Order Must End

"It would be chaos and mayhem. It's totally opposite everything he's been saying. I don't think it is plausible. I don't think it is legal."

The governor said these words in late March. The coronavirus was raging downstate, and the president was considering asking New Yorkers traveling to other states to quarantine upon arrival. The governor wouldn’t hear of it. He threatened legal action against Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo when she pushed a similar policy.

Gov. Cuomo must have a pretty short memory. This week, he signed a vague, confusing Executive Order requiring travelers from states with elevated COVID-19 infection rates to quarantine for 14 days. (When he was threatening to sue Rhode Island, the infection rate in New York state was about three times higher than the benchmark for triggering quarantine for travelers coming to New York, according to the Empire Center’s Bill Hammond.)

Hypocrisy aside, there are obvious problems with the order. There’s no carve-out for healthy military personnel returning from reserve duty who need to return to civilian work. Because the data changes daily, there’s no way people with secondary residences can plan to visit their homes during the summer with any certainty. An individual planning to visit family in New York can pass a COVID-19 test on a Monday, have the infection rate in their state rise slightly overnight and wake up on Tuesday needing to quarantine for the entirety of their planned trip.

What does this mean for trucking companies? What does this mean for out-of-state individuals who have business in industries that have reopened in New York state? Isn’t the whole reason we’re encouraging mask-wearing, promoting increased hand-washing and requiring social distancing is because we know it’s impossible to guarantee everyone we run into is healthy?

The notion that anti-law enforcement protestors can flood our streets and carry on with their lives afterward but military personnel are forced to quarantine for weeks is deeply insulting.

Taken with the governor’s announcement that gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and shopping malls will remain closed in Phase 4, this was a frustrating week for New Yorkers who believe it’s time to continue moving forward. My colleagues and I sent a letter to the legislative leaders in the Senate and Assembly urging them to remove the governor’s executive powers and restore normal government order. We need checks and balances.  We need to stand up as a Legislature and do what we were elected to do- govern.  

What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@nyassembly.gov, or find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook.        

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