A legislative column by Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R,C,I-Deerpark)

For many upstate New Yorkers, today symbolizes light at the end of the tunnel. Phase I businesses are being reopened, and people are able to return to work. I am wary, however, of the taste Gov. Cuomo has gotten for power.

Gov. Cuomo has used his expanded emergency powers to act as the big man on campus, deciding what regions meet his criteria for reopening. My problem with this is that we live in a democratic society. Just because the governor has the temporary ability to use this power does not mean he should do so autonomously.

That’s another point. Guess who knows the most information about individual regions of the state? You’re right in thinking the people who live there. The county executives, local officials, small business owners and residents all know more about their area than the king of New York City. It is time we give those people back their power to decide how and when their regions will reopen and put an end to the governor’s overarching power.

I realize that certain metrics have to be met for regions to reopen. Those metrics, however, have nothing to do with economic factors or people’s needs in a particular area. There has been massive oversight in not taking these considerations into account. That is why there must be a return to state government operations, processes and legislative powers. Regional councils should decide if their areas open back up, not the governor. Intervention could, however, still be made by Gov. Cuomo if the region needed to be shutdown.

Listen, we live in America. We live in this great nation that was built on freedom and representation. Let’s not let one unprecedented scenario take away the people’s voice. And, let’s surely not let the governor extend his power trip into the future. The Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader have the power to call us back into session. They need to do so immediately so we can provide the proper checks and balances to the governor, as our state constitution outlines. The legislature also needs to have the courage to override the governor’s veto when two-thirds of both bodies feel necessary.

Assemblyman Brabenec represents the 98th District, which includes the towns of Palm Tree, Deerpark, Greenville, Minisink, Warwick, Tuxedo, Monroe, and Ramapo. For more information, please visit his Official Website

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