March 23 Special Legislative Update

Shenker Russo and Clark LLP Legislative Update

This morning, the Governor held another press conference updating the state on the COVID-19 situation. During his press conference, the Governor announced that he will be amending his Executive Order 202 to include a mandate that all hospitals around the state increase their capacity by at least 50%. While the mandate will require a minimum 50% capacity increase, the Governor’s administration is asking all hospitals try to set a goal of increasing their capacity by 100%. The Governor also announced that three former Secretaries to the Governor – Steve Cohen, Bill Mulrow, and Larry Schwartz – are joining his COVID-19 Taskforce. Larry Schwartz will be helping the state acquire more healthcare supplies and will help with the hospital capacity increase. Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow are tasked with creating a plan, called the NYS Forward Plan, to restart the economy once the NYS on Pause Executive Order ends. We will continue to monitor the status of the NYS Forward Plan and update you with any developments that may be of interest to your specific issues or concerns.

Also, during his press conference, the Governor announced that the Department of Financial Services will request that health insurers disclose the number of registered doctors and nurses they employ so the state can ask them to temporarily serve COVID-19 patient care.

Later in the day, the Governor travelled to the Javits Center in New York City to announce that FEMA has started building one of four temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients. The hospital in the Javits Center will increase the state’s hospital capacity by 1,000 beds. The other three temporary hospitals will be built at SUNY Westbury, SUNY Stony Brook and the Westchester County Center.

State Budget negotiations continued over the weekend, and Politico reported today that the State Senate is eyeing Thursday as the day to reconvene and vote on the Budget. Senate Spokesperson Mike Murphy said that the House is currently looking into how, or if, the 63 Senators may be able to vote remotely, but as of right now they are planning an in-person vote. The Assembly has not yet decided on a schedule for the week. The NYS Budget is due April 1st, and Governor Cuomo has said he is in no rush to speed up the budget process. Also, while the idea of a “bare-bones” budget has been brought up, the Governor has said he continues to advocate for several policy issues he included in his original Budget Proposal, specifically bail reform and the legalization of marijuana. However, the Governor did say this morning that, while some policy may be included in the Budget, any policies that would require weeks of detailed negotiations would most likely fall off the table. We will continue to monitor the State Budget process and keep you up-to-date with all the latest developments.

Everyone at SRC is continuing to work on your issues and concerns. We are all available 24/7 for any questions you may have.