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Governor Raimondo takes the high road in disagreement with Cuomo



“If [Governor Cuomo] feels it’s important for him to take credit, go ahead,” said Raimondo. “I’m going to continue to keep working here to keep Rhode Islanders safe.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is dealing with the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, spent some time this weekend threatening to sue Rhode Island over Governor Gina Raimondo‘s executive order targeting automobiles with New York plates for stoppages by Rhode Island State Police and the National Guard.

Raimondo rescinded the order yesterday and simultaneously expanded it to all automobiles with out-of-state plates, which brings the order more inline with the 4th Amendment, such it no longer discriminates against a particular class of people. Automobiles will be stopped and the driver and passengers ordered into quarantine for 14 days. The police and/or National Guard will also be collecting contact information from those stopped.

Here are the two executive orders in question:

Executive Order 20-12 – Tenth Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers from New York State (03/26/20)

Executive Order 20-14 – Amended Eleventh Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Staying At Home, Reducing Gatherings, Certain Retail Business Closures and Further Quarantine Provisions (3/28/20)

During his press conference at noon on Sunday, Cuomo said said, “Rhode Island issued an executive order [that] New York license plates would be theoretically stopped at the border for a mandatory quarantine of some period. That executive order has been repealed by the State of Rhode Island and we thanked them for their cooperation. That was repealed last night.”

Raimondo signed the executive order in the morning, before her conversation with Cuomo.

“Yesterday I signed an executive order saying that all travelers from any other state on any mode of transportation are ordered into quarantine when they come into Rhode Island,” said Raimondo at her 1pm press conference. “So that executive order, which signed yesterday morning, superseded the New York executive order.”

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The governors each described their conversation during their respective press conferences:

“So I did talk to the Governor of New York yesterday, it was after I had already taken my action, and we chatted about it,” said Raimondo. “If he feels it’s important for him to take credit, go ahead. I’m going to continue to keep working here to keep Rhode Islanders safe.”

“I spoke to the governor of Rhode Island yesterday and we had a conversation,” said Cuomo. “I don’t think the order was called for. I don’t believe it was legal. I don’t believe it was neighborly. I understood the point, but I thought they were different ways to do it. The governor of Rhode Island was very receptive and I thanked her very much for reconsidering her position.”

I’ll give the last word on this to Governor Raimondo:

“I think it’s odd that Governor Cuomo was focused on this sort of politics at a time that we’re fighting disasters, but I don’t know how I can be any clearer,” said Raimondo. “I have a job to do, which is to protect you, the people of Rhode Island and that’s what we’re doing. I wish Governor Cuomo all the best with the crisis he has on his hands.”

Here’s Cuomo’s press conference:

About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.