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Efforts To Take Back Emergency Powers From Gov. Andrew Cuomo Moving Forward

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Efforts in Albany to take back emergency powers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo are moving forward in response to his handling of nursing homes during the COVID pandemic; CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer has the story.

Video Transcript

- Other news headlines now. Efforts in Albany to take emergency powers back from Governor Cuomo are now moving forward.

- It's in response to his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic and CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer has the story.

MARCIA KRAMER: Call it, Albany lawmakers strike back. State senators fed up with one man rule are set to pass a bill to stop Governor Cuomo from unilaterally issuing new directives or laws during the pandemic without a green light from a bipartisan legislative commission.

MICHAEL GIANARIS: The frustration has been that there has been some decision making that has seemed arbitrary or that we wouldn't necessarily agree with.

MARCIA KRAMER: And it's not just because lawmakers are upset the governor withheld information about COVID deaths in nursing homes. Officials tell CBS2 that people concerned about a whole host of issues, from restaurants to school reopenings to fixing the economy, will have another place to make their case.

MICHAEL GIANARIS: It's always a mistake for one person and their small inner circle to be making decisions without someone else providing oversight, providing a check and balance.

MARCIA KRAMER: The legislation is also backed by Assemblyman Ron Kim, one of Cuomo's most harshest critics. The two have been involved in an ugly and very public back and forth, Cuomo charging that Kim acted unethically by taking political donations from nail salons while working on legislation that was supposed to crack down on salon abuses. Kim says Cuomo called him and threatened him to shut him up.

RON KIM: I felt threatened when he pushed on a phone call, berated me for 10 minutes, asking me to issue a statement that countered what I had said.

MARCIA KRAMER: A top Cuomo aide accused Kim of lying about the call. He called it, quote, "part of a years-long pattern of lies by Mr Kim." Mayor de Blasio, a frequent Cuomo punching bag, also chimed in.

BILL DE BLASIO: There clearly needs to be a full investigation.

MARCIA KRAMER: There are reports that the FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney's office are investigating the actions of members of the Cuomo administration in the nursing home issue. What's unclear is whether the probe was ordered by former President Trump and whether it will continue now that there's a Democrat in the White House. Federal sources telling CBS2 that Attorney General Designate Merrick Garland is expected to be questioned about it at his confirmation hearing next week. I'm Marcia Kramer, CBS2 News.