In a state dominated by one party from a small geographic area of the state, a divided legislature is important to rein the extreme notions of the dominant party. Last year, both houses of the state legislature were dominated by one party for the first time in many years. We saw the results of a Senate controlled by those who were focused on ‘gun control’.
Previously, most gun control legislation –( but not all, remember the “Safe” Act )- “died” in the Senate which was controlled by Republicans. However, under one party control last year, we saw seven ‘gun control’ bills passed and, of course, signed by Cuomo.
The most egregious was the so-called “Red Flag” law or ERPO (Extreme Risk Protection Ordinance). This bill affects more than just the Second Amendment. Other Constitutional and civil rights such as Due Process were impacted as ERPO ignored the 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments.
The 2020 legislative session in Albany has seen many more gun control bills introduced. There are eight bills of particular concern that have been introduced into both legislative houses. (Find these on SCOPE’s web site www.scopeny2A.org under NYS Legislation.)
Besides the above bills, there are other issues of concern. In particular, a bill passed which gave the governor expanded “emergency powers” in a time of public ‘distress’. Though New York law already allows Cuomo to suspend provisions of any state or local statute that would delay coping with a declared disaster, the new measure goes further, broadening the definition of disaster to something that is “impending.” Guess who determines if Cuomo’s emergency power is necessary? The temporary powers last for a year and are renewable.
Assembly member Richard Gottfried, the longtime chair of his chamber’s health committee, had this to say: “I’m scared or concerned because I don’t know what the governor has in mind.” State Senator Julia Salazar, a Brooklyn Democrat, voted against the bill and made this statement: “It’s a reckless expansion of executive power.” Salazar and one other Democratic Senator voted against the bill. Only two Republican State Senators voted against the bill: Senator Pam Helming (54th District) and Senator George Borrello (57th District). Several Republican Senators are retiring this year. Why did they not vote against the bill? Especially those from Upstate NY! This is bi-partisanship at its worst.
Cuomo did not offer a detailed explanation of his push to expand his emergency powers, telling reporters that “these are uncharted territories” and that “government has to respond.” This should be as troubling to you as it is to me.
The Senate Republican retirements will require a massive effort by the State GOP party and party Chairman Nick Langworthy to find Republican replacements. Without a divided legislature after the November election, the anti-gunners will have the opportunity in 2021 to control state redistricting. We may not see a divided legislature for at least a decade.