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New York turns the page to latest chapter in emerging nursing home saga

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(WBNG) -- On Monday, lawmakers at the state and federal levels announced measures to ensure lessons are learned from New York nursing homes during the pandemic.

The New York State Senate passed a series of 11 bills aimed at increasing transparency and accountability at longterm care facilities.

Led by the Senate Democratic majority, these reforms would create a task force to determine how to improve care, publicize nursing home ratings as well as create standards for who can own a facility.

Despite these latest measures, these lawmakers' Republican colleagues say they are doing too little, too late. They claim the Democrats have allowed Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to wield unchecked powers and have sole authority over the administration's COVID response.

Led by the Republican minority leaders in both the state senate and state assembly, a group of elected officials held a news conference to call on the Democrats to strip the governor of his emergency coronavirus powers.

These lawmakers say the governor has failed to be transparent, and that he needs to be put in check.

"Most importantly, he's held back information from this legislature for 11 months," said State Sen. Tom O'Mara (R, District 58). "That needs to stop today, should've stopped nine months ago, ten months ago. Today needs to be the day, there are no more excuses."

O'Mara said Republicans have called for the end to Cuomo's powers, which will expire next month, more than 16 times since last year.

At the federal level, all 8 GOP members of NY's congressional delegation sent a letter demanding an investigation into the governor and his administration's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

Sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the letter calls on Merrick Garland, the Biden Administration's nomination for U.S. Attorney General, to commit to creating a federal Department of Justice inquiry into the nursing homes. Specifically, the delegation hopes the DOJ will investigate any potential obstructions of justice.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has already publicly announced its own investigation into these matters.

Josh Rosenblatt

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