On April 24, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.23 invoking new powers from a law passed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic to temporarily suspend or modify laws necessary to assist or aid in coping with a declared State disaster emergency. On March 3, 2020, the Governor signed into law legislation that expanded his authority to temporarily suspend, modify, or issue directives in response to a declared State disaster emergency. That legislation also accompanied a $40 million appropriation to the Governor to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Section 8-400 and Article 9 of the Election Law were suspended and modified to send absentee ballot applications to active and inactive voters eligible to vote in a primary or special election scheduled for June 23, 2020. Voters will continue to be able to request an absentee ballot by phone or other electronic means.
The Governor directed the Commissioner of Health to suspend or revoke the operating certificate of skilled nursing facilities or adult care facilities determined to have not adhered to any regulations or directives issued by the Department. The Commissioner may in order to preserve life, health and safety, appoint a receiver to continue the operations of such a facility with 24 hours notice to the current operator.
The Governor directed State Assembly and State Senate special elections scheduled to be held on June 23, 2020 to be cancelled and for the offices to be filled at the general election. The special election for the office of Queens Borough President was similarly cancelled.
Under the newly enacted law, the Governor has the power to suspend, modify, or issue directives during a declared emergency for 30 days which may be extended for an unlimited number of 30 day periods with consent of the legislature after each subsequent period. Unless the Governor elects to extend the suspension or directives, they will expire on May 24, 2020.