By Melissa “Missy” Miller
As time passes, it has become frighteningly apparent that our governor is out of control. Or should I say in total control — of all of us. In early March when this virus first surfaced in New York, the legislature was presented with a bill that would provide $40 million to fight the coronavirus. A bill we needed to vote for in an effort to try to get ahead of this.
Unfortunately, and typically, there was another item added to that bill — an amendment to the definition of state of emergency to include pandemic and to give the governor the ability to have complete authority during a state of emergency. While many of us on both sides of the aisle had significant concern over this, how could we vote against funding to control this virus?
In good faith, the legislature authorized the governor to exercise additional power during the coronavirus pandemic. The governor has not reciprocated the good faith effort on his part. From the nursing home debacle that presumably contributed to New York’s high death count, to the Department of Labor not being able to handle getting survival money to New Yorkers out of work, to the patchwork and constantly changing approach to reopen our state: Gov. Cuomo has demonstrated, more than anything, a need to return to legislative balance and order because he needs our help and input.
Here we are, more than two months later, successfully flattening the curve, and in many parts of the state, beginning to reopen. Yet the governor has not lifted the state of emergency and doesn’t appear to be in any rush to do so. His unilateral decisions are troubling for so many. The vulnerable population, that he spoke so much about protecting, was and continues to be put directly in harm’s way.
There seems to be a haphazard path to reopening that he claims is strictly from the data, but the way he picks and chooses how he is reopening does not make any sense at all. Small businesses appear to be the least of his concerns. It’s incomprehensible how he can allow a racetrack to open for horses to run Belmont, allowing all the trainers and crew to work and allow betting to earn revenue, but solar industry construction, private for-hire fishing boats, dentists, and retail stores are all unable to reopen.
There have been several requests for the Legislature to go back to session — even remotely — so we have a voice again. We were elected to represent our constituents and the governor is not allowing us to do our job. The delay is destroying our state. We fully understand the need for there to be regulations on social distancing, mask wearing, etc. but these businesses need to be provided the opportunity to figure out how to do that and reopen. We are all going to be living with a new normal, and it is time to let us start doing it.
Assemblywoman Melissa Miller represents the 20th District, which consists of parts of Nassau County, including the towns of Atlantic Beach, Long Beach, Five Towns (Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett), Oceanside, East Rockaway, Island Park, Point Lookout, and Lido Beach.