Cuomo uses ‘power’ to suspend newspaper notices in favor of agencies posting online

From the Public Notice Resource Center

Before it approved a budget in the early morning hours and left Albany last month as the coronavirus first struck the state with full force, the New York legislature granted Gov. Andrew Cuomo emergency power to suspend laws he believes compromise public health. The governor has not been shy about exercising his new exigent authority.

On April 20, Cuomo issued an executive order that, among other things, allowed cities and towns in the state to file property tax assessment rolls up to 30 days later than the June 1 statutory deadline, and authorized them to publish the assessment notices “solely online so long as the date for hearing complaints is prominently displayed”.

“The governor did not explain how newspaper publication of the notice of completion of property tax assessment rolls would impair public health,” noted New York News Publishers Association President Diane Kennedy in a letter published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Friday night, Cuomo issued another executive order suspending two more public notice laws. One section of the order relieved the Board of Elections of the obligation of publishing bid notices to procure the materials and postage necessary to mail absentee ballots. The other rescheduled the annual meetings and elections of most local school districts and reduced the number of newspaper notices required for each meeting from four to two.

Gov. Cuomo has had an often contentious relationship with some newspapers in his state and recently even blamed the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for responding too slowly to the spread of COVID-19.

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