Wednesday, March 11th in Albany, NY, state lawmakers voted in empty chambers on bills following emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols put in place after two lawmakers tested positive for the deadly virus.
The New York State Senate and Assembly passed a bill expanding paid sick leave to all public and private sector workers affected by mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law directly after a legislation that covered a 14 day period. Following the signing, politicians were given strict guidelines to help reduce their social interaction.
The New York State Capitol is closed to both public and staff, who have been working to clear the building around the clock. With the exception of leadership, most of the 63 member state Senate have been voted from their offices.
Before voting ‘yes’ on the bill, leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Every aspect of our lives are changed, and changed probably for a very, very long time.” The bill passed 50 to 6.
Democrats and Republicans were both divided into voting groups because the 150-member state Assembly forced a maximum of 30 individuals in the room at once. Any members who wanted to debate the legislation entered the chamber together for discussion.
The measure passed 131 to 3.
With a state budget deadline of April 1 hanging over the heads of Governor Cuomo and the Legislative leaders, it’s unclear when politicians will be able to return to Albany to vote, but aides have said agreements can be taken care of over the phone.