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Albany Lawmakers Move To Curtail Gov. Cuomo's Emergency Powers During Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - There's more blowback for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Amid reports of a federal investigation into nursing home deaths lawmakers are fast tracking a measure to curtail his executive powers in dealing with the pandemic.

As CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, you can call it Albany lawmakers strike back. State senators fed up with one man rule are set to pass a bill to stop Cuomo from unilaterally issuing new directives or laws during the pandemic without a greenlight from a bipartisan legislative commission.

"The frustration has been there has been some decision making that has seemed arbitrary, that we wouldn't necessarily agree with," said St. Sen. Micahel Gianaris.

And it's not just because lawmakers are upset the governor withheld information about COVID deaths in nursing homes.

Officials tell CBS2 that people concerned about a whole host of issues - from restaurants, to school reopenings, to fixing the economy - will have another place to make their case.

"It's always a mistake for one person and their small inner circle to be making decisions without someone else providing oversight, providing a check and balance," Gianaris said.

The legislation is also backed by Assemblyman Ron Kim, one of Cuomo's harshest critics. The two have been involved in an ugly and very public back-and-forth. Cuomo is charging that Kim acted unethically by taking political donations from nail salons while working on legislation that was supposed to crack down on salon abuses. Kim says Cuomo called and threatened him to shut him up.

"I felt threatened when he pushed in a phone call, berated me for 10 minutes, asking me to issue a statement that countered what I had said," Kim said.

A top Cuomo aid accused Kim of "lying" about the call he called it "...part of a years-long pattern of lies by Mr. Kim."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent Cuomo punching bag, also chimed in.

"There clearly needs to be a full investigation," de Blasio said.

There are reports that the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office are investigating the actions of members of the Cuomo administration in the nursing home issue. What's unclear is whether the probe was ordered by former President Donald Trump and whether it will continue now that there's a Democrat in the White House.

Federal sources tell CBS2 that Attorney General-designate Merrit Garland is expected to be questioned about it at his confirmation hearing next week.

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