While many New Yorkers like to leave 2020 behind, it can’t be denied that it’s been a year like no other. In the Capitol, the legislature took a back seat as Gov. Andrew Cuomo gained power and popularity among residents who eagerly prepared for his coronavirus briefings.
The year started with the governor following a decade-long tradition, this year delivering a state-of-the-art speech at the Capitol Convention Center in front of a crowded house with hundreds of guests.
« Happy New Year everyone, » said Cuomo on Jan. . 8 as the crowd applauded.
Things weren’t perfect. The state was already in budget deficit, there was a vicious hate crime stabbed in a rabbi’s home, and extreme weather had caused significant flood damage along Lake Ontario.
But like everyone else, he had no idea what was in store for him. Nobody talked about the coronavirus.
Cuomo began learning about the COVID-19 pandemic for the first of 111 consecutive days as New York became the global epicenter of the coronavirus.
Until 20. March all non-essential businesses in New York were closed. Schools followed shortly afterwards. In April, the death toll reached nearly 800 a day.
His signature presentations, full of facts and figures, and his admonitions to the public to wear masks and behave safely, filled a vacuum created by the wriggling federal leadership under President Donald Trump. The briefings were followed by millions of trapped Americans starving for a daily routine that for many had suddenly become an unmoored life.
The governor’s popularity rose, the term « cuomosexual » was coined, and the normally private governor spoke about his feelings and family, including his relationship with his three daughters and their friends.
« Advice to fathers: The answer to what you think of the boyfriend is always, » I like the boyfriend, « » said Cuomo. « Always. ”
As the COVID-19 cases subsided, Cuomo stopped doing daily briefings. When the virus rate began to rise again in late fall, Cuomo resumed it three times a week – this time at Zoom to reduce the density in the meeting room.
State legislation took a backseat to the governor in 2020, granting him extensive emergency powers to make decisions during the pandemic. However, the legislature held a few – mostly virtual – meetings, including one in June. They approved criminal action in response to the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd, a death that sparked protests across the country. Legislature banned police chokeholds, required state police to wear body cameras, and repealed a legal provision that had been used to protect police disciplinary records from the public.
Senate chairman Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman and first African American woman to head the chamber like Cuomo, also shared some personal stories.
In the Senate, she spoke about how racism has affected every aspect of her life. Her father served in a separate army during World War II. Her brother quit a job as a transit cop because he did not like the way the police treated black defendants. And their son Stephen was stopped and searched when he was 19 while visiting a white neighborhood. He ended up in the hospital and was charged with resisting the arrest.
« I met Stephen in the emergency room with a broken nose, » Stewart-Cousins said on Nov.. June in the Senate. “Everyone knew Stephen would never have resisted. ”
The legislature returned one last time for the year on December. 28 to strengthen tenant protection and extend a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for small landlords to May.
Stewart-Cousins, who forwarded her year-end remarks, summed up the uncertainty everyone is feeling about the future and said no one expected the disruption in 2020 when everything changed.
« There will be a new year, » said Stewart-Cousins. « I’m not saying it can’t be worse because I don’t know now. ”
The long-awaited new Penn Station in New York City opens on New Years Day, and Gov. . Andrew Cuomo said it was a sign of hope in a dark and « traumatic » time.
New York State legislature held a special December session Monday to enact new protections for tenants unable to meet rental payments due to pandemic job losses and other financial challenges.
Andrew Cuomo, New York
World News – United States – In 2020, the pandemic was the only story
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