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Governors: Impeachment, Immigration, Eviction, and Mask Mandates

August 06, 2021 (3 min read)

Cuomo Likely to Face Impeachment:

In the wake of a damning report from the state attorney general’s office, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is almost surely going to face an impeachment vote over allegations he sexually harassed at least 11 women and retaliated against one that reported him.

The report from Attorney General Letitia James accused the governor and his aides of cultivating a “hostile work environment” in his office that helped enable “harassment to occur.”

“Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of both federal and state laws,” James said in revealing the report. “The independent investigation found that Governor Cuomo harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women, by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and by making inappropriate comments.”

The report immediately sparked calls from the state’s Democratic leaders for Cuomo to resign or face impeachment. The call was quickly echoed by President Joe Biden. Cuomo reiterated his stance that he has done nothing wrong and will not step down.

In response, state Assembly Judiciary Committee Charles D. Lavine (D) said his committee has given the governor until Aug. 13 to provide evidence in what promises to be a wide-ranging investigation.

Impeachment requires a simple majority vote in the Assembly or 76 of the chamber’s 150 members. If approved there, the governor will be temporarily removed from office while facing a trial in the Senate, with the court made up of senators and justices from the state Supreme Court. A two-thirds majority vote for removal there would permanently remove the governor from office.

If that happens, Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) would serve out the last year of Cuomo’s term. (NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS)

Pritzker Signs IL Immigration Measures:

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a quartet of measures last week intended to better protect the Prairie State’s immigrant and refugee populations. The bills collectively bar state and local governments from signing federal contracts to detain immigrants (SB 667), add immigrant status to the state’s hate crime statutes (HB 1596), bar work employment discrimination based on a person's work authorization status (HB 121) and create a state task force to examine issues involving immigrant communities (SB 2665). All but SB 1596 went into effect right away. (DAILY HERALD [CHICAGO])

NJ Gov Signs Off on Eviction Changes:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed SB 3691, a bill that shields renters making less than 80 percent of the area’s median income from eviction through Dec. 31. Renters who make more will see the moratorium come to an end on Aug. 31. The governor also signed AB 4463, which makes confidential some landlord-tenant legal actions filed during the pandemic emergency. (NJ.COM

OR Gov Okays Ambitious Energy Bill:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a measure last month that commits the state to one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country. Under HB 2021, the state’s two major power companies — Portland General Electric and Pacific Power — will be required to move to 100 percent clean electricity sources by 2040. The law also bans new power plants that use fossil fuels and allocates $50 million in community-based clean energy projects. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, KATU [PORTLAND]

AR Gov Regrets Banning Mask Mandates:

As COVID-19 cases spike in his state, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (D) said last week he regrets signing a bill that bars most government agencies from imposing mask mandates. He has asked lawmakers to quickly send him a modified measure that will allow schools to require masks before students return en masse in the fall. (NEW YORK TIMES)

FL Schools Defy Gov’s Mask Mandate Ban:

Citing skyrocketing COVID-19 infections, at least four large school districts in Florida have said they will keep or implement mask mandates for students, defying a new order from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that would withhold state funds from schools that impose such orders. One of those districts, Broward County Public Schools, is the second largest in the state and the sixth-largest in the nation. (WASHINGTON POST)

--Compiled by RICH EHISEN


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