NYS Government and Legislative Update – 4.9.20

Early this morning, Empire State Development (ESD) updated their guidance on essential businesses.   We would encourage you to review the guidance here to see if there are aspects of your business that could be affected:  

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced that he will be issuing an executive order that will allow all eligible voters to vote in the elections being held on June 23, 2020 by absentee ballot.  The elections scheduled for June 23 include any primary races for state and federal legislative races, the Democratic presidential primary and several special, local, and village elections and various school budget votes.  Of note, contained in the final budget proposal last week, was a provision that allows the state Board of Elections to remove from the ballot presidential candidates who have dropped out.  Given that Senator Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he was dropping his bid for President, it is very likely that the Democratic presidential primary vote will be canceled.  This primary was the only statewide primary on the ballot meaning that polling sites where there are no primary, special, or local elections will not have to hold an election on June 23.

For those areas of the state that do have primary, special, or local elections, the new executive order will allow voting to be done by absentee ballot.  Under current law, you can vote by absentee ballot under a limited number of circumstances.  One of the allowances to vote by absentee ballot is that you are unable to vote in person due to a temporary or permanent illness.  The potential of contracting Coronavirus will be considered a temporary or permanent illness.  At this point, it is not clear if polling sites around the state will also be open or if the June 23 elections will be conducted entirely by absentee ballot. 

We are hearing that the Senate and Assembly may use their new remote voting powers in the coming month or so.  While there is no set agenda or plan yet, the discussion has centered around the need to pass legislation dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus in New York.  Some potential agenda items may include rent waivers for renters in New York and hazard pay legislation for frontline workers.  There are no definitive plans or agreement on any issues at this point, but we wanted you to be aware of the potential return of the legislature.

Finally, we wanted to share the sad news of the passing of former Assemblymember Richard Brodsky, likely from COVID-19.  Assemblymember Brodsky left the Assembly in 2010, but for those of you that worked with him, you know that he was a force to be reckoned with, and he will be missed.

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