Assemblyman Matt Simpson (R,C,I-Horicon) is joining his Minority Conference colleagues in calling for the subpoena of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. On Thursday morning, members of the Assembly were joined by Voices for Seniors and Miss Gelsey Randazzo Markese for an emergency press conference. Voices for Seniors is a statewide advocacy group for seniors in long-term care facilities and Miss Gelsey Randazzo Markese is a Rochester resident who lost her 91-year-old grandmother in a nursing home in late 2020.
The press conference focused on applying pressure on Majority members to use their subpoena power on Dr. Zucker. Attorney General Letitia James recently released a report that for many left more questions than answers. Members of the Minority Conference are pushing for accountability from Dr. Zucker and his gross mismanagement of our state’s nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Section 62-A of Legislative Law, if a majority of members on a given committee sign a petition, authority is given for that committee to issue a subpoena for an individual to appear before that committee to answer questions. There are 7 members on the Assembly Oversight Committee, 5 Majority members and 2 Minority members. Only two Majority members are needed to be able to issue a subpoena to Dr. Zucker and compel him to answer questions following the scathing nursing home report by the attorney general.
“A subpoena of Commissioner Zucker is imperative for the Legislature to get to the bottom of the administration’s handling of nursing homes during this pandemic,” said Simpson. “The commissioner can be questioned on the governor’s March 25 directive that sent COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, and asked why the administration’s total nursing home death numbers were 50% lower than those of Attorney General James and why the Legislature and the residents of New York were left in the dark about what was going on. Attorney General James did not play politics when she released her report and my Majority colleagues in the Assembly should do the same,” said Simpson.