Walsh: Return Checks & Balances

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C-Ballston) and her Minority colleagues sent a letter to Gov. Hochul, Health Commissioner Bassett and Education Commissioner Rosa urging the Department of Health (DOH) to stop its permanent adoption of COVID-19 emergency regulations, which include:

  • Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission by Covered Entities: Requires hospitals and health care providers to ensure all workers are fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. This requirement forced caregivers out of facilities and has exacerbated the state’s current staffing crisis.
  • Face Coverings for COVID-19 Prevention: Gives the health commissioner the authority to implement mask requirements on all New Yorkers over the age of 2.
  • Investigation of Communicable Disease; Isolation and Quarantine: Allows DOH and local health departments to issue isolation and quarantine orders to individuals who have been diagnosed or exposed to a highly contagious communicable disease.

“I was hopeful Gov. Hochul would show a willingness to work with us in the Legislature on policy, especially relating to the pandemic. Unfortunately, she has instituted a top-down approach similar to that of her predecessor.

“After nearly two full years of this pandemic, New Yorkers in all corners of the state are calling for a return to normalcy. Our students are seeing mask mandates being dropped in schools in states surrounding us, but at this time the governor has yet to provide a clear timeline on when school mask mandates will be dropped here in New York,” said Walsh.

The letter comes at a time when neighboring states such as New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware are all loosening COVID-19 restrictions. As residents throughout New York state are calling for a return to normalcy, Assembly Minority lawmakers are joining them while also advocating for a return to representative government with proper checks and balances.

“The Legislature is a co-equal branch of government responsible for carrying out the will of the people. I implore the governor to work with us on any further extensions or implementations of COVID-19 policy. The people of our state who have faced the brunt of blanket mandates are owed a seat at the table,” Walsh concluded.

The letter is attached.