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New York Capital Brief: October 29, 2020

The Countdown to November 3

With a current $15 billion budget deficit in New York, Governor Cuomo and lawmakers continue to hold out for federal aid before acting on final deficit reduction measures. As a temporary stopgap measure, several months ago Cuomo began withholding a portion of funding for local governments, schools, and hospitals.

At this point, an economic stimulus funding package for state and local governments will remain stalled in Washington D.C. until after Election Day.

DOH Codifies Social Distancing Measures

This week, the Department of health issued an Emergency Rule that codifies social distancing measures and mask-wearing requirements previously imposed by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders.

The Rule also codifies the authority of State and local governments to enforce civil and criminal penalties related to the violation of these regulations.

The Emergency Rule expires on January 4, 2021.

What a Senate Supermajority Could Mean for NYS

Just two years after the Democrats gained the majority in both houses of the legislature for the first time in a decade, the Legislature is poised to gain significant power in shaping NYS policy. The Senate Democratic conference only needs to flip two Republican-held seats to reach a two-thirds supermajority, which along with the existing supermajority in the Assembly, would give the Legislature the votes to override gubernatorial vetoes.

However, the addition of many newly-elected legislators also presents Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie with the challenge of maintaining unified conferences as the ideology and individual priorities of the party broadens.

NY’s Neighboring States Meet Quarantine Criteria

This week, Governor Cuomo announced that Massachusetts is now among other neighboring states (PA, NJ, and CT) that meet the criteria for the NY travel advisory list. However, given the interconnected nature of the region, a quarantine on these states is not practically viable. Nonetheless, Cuomo highly discourages, to the extent practical, non-essential travel between these states while they meet the travel advisory criteria.

COVID & Travel Advisory Update

The Executive Order reminding international travelers coming from Level 2 & 3 countries to quarantine for 14 days and fill out the NY health travel form remains in effect.

California has been added to the list of “restricted states” under the travel advisory that requires a 14-day quarantine. There are 41 total states on the list.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted its directive recommending travelers coming from states with a high rate of coronavirus cases self-quarantine for 14 days to stem the spread of COVID, Governor Cuomo indicated that New York’s travel advisory won’t be lifted any time soon.