On June 7, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.39 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.
The Governor continued the suspensions and modifications of law and any directives made by Executive Order 202.15 through 202.21 and including 202.29 until July 7, 2020. On June 6, 2020 the Governor similarly continued suspensions and modifications of law and any directives made by Executive Orders up to 202.14.
Section 2018-a and 2018-b of the Education Law is modified and suspended to allow the canvassing of absentee ballots for elections held on June 9, 2020 and received by mail no later than June 16, 2020. Ballots not received by mail will not be accepted after 5 p.m. on June 9, 2020.
Section 3012(d) of the Education Law and Subpart 30-3 of Title 8 of the NYCRR is modified and suspended to exempt school districts from completion of certain annual professional performance reviews during the 2019-2020 without withholding any funds the school district is otherwise entitled.
Sections 2509, 2573, 3012, and 3014 of the Education Law were modified or suspended to allow the appointment on tenure for those classroom teachers and building principals recommended by the superintendent who are in the final year of the probationary period and otherwise would have been qualified for appointment on tenure.
The Governor modified a directive contained in Executive Order 202.38 that permitted restaurants or bars to serve patrons on premises in an outdoor space to explicitly limit this activity to regions in Phase Two of the reopening plan.
The Governor also modified a directive contained in Executive Order 202.4 that allowed non-essential personnel from local governments to work from home or take leave without charging accruals. This modification is to apply only to local governments located in a region that has not met the public health and safety metrics for a Phase Two reopening. Non-essential employees may return to work two weeks after such a region meets the reference metrics.
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 July 7, 2020.