Hochul Permits Pandemic Powers To Lapse

On September 12, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul allowed the state’s COVID-19 state of emergency to expire.

According to the Albany Times Union, the state of emergency had been in effect since November 2021, when Gov. Hochul issued an emergency declaration due to the spread of the omicron strain of the coronavirus.

In announcing her decision to let the state of emergency lapse, Gov. Hochul stated that she reserved the right to re-institute a state of emergency if circumstances should require one.

As the Times Union noted, Gov. Hochul had been criticized by Republican legislators for entering into a contract with one of her campaign donors to purchase COVID tests. (The state of emergency made it possible for the Governor to bypass normal state contract procedures.) Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) asserted that the Governor allowed the state of emergency to expire due to “‘continued pressure from Republicans, public pushback in nearly every sector of the state and well-deserved criticism from good government groups and the media,’” which made it impossible for Gov. Hochul to “‘skirt important checks and balances built into normal state operations through her emergency powers.’”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased that Gov. Hochul has finally relinquished the emergency powers that she ought to have relinquished months ago. We call upon the New York State Legislature to investigate all COVID-19-related contracts entered into by the state of New York with any donors to Gov. Hochul’s campaign.