HARTFORD, CT – As the number of Connecticut residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus continues to increase, legislative leaders decided to postpone the legislative session until at least April 13.
Eleven days ago legislative leaders shut down the state Capitol, Legislative Office Building, and Old State House, and expected to keep them closed to the public until March 30. On Monday they reassessed the situation and decided to keep the buildings closed another two weeks.
In a joint statement, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate President Martin Looney, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said:
“The General Assembly will continue to postpone all committee meetings, public hearings, and other legislative business until April 13. Protecting Connecticut residents during this public health emergency is our priority during this time and we will be in constant communication to determine if any further action needs to be taken.”
The General Assembly must adjourn on May 6.
Since they recessed on March 11, at least one member of the House of Representatives has tested positive, and Gov. Ned Lamont banned gatherings of more than 50 people.
There are 151 lawmakers in the House and 36 in the Senate.
Legislative leaders have been on daily conference calls with each other or their respective caucuses discussing the situation.
Looney said that if the legislature ever gets back to the point of legislating, they will have to decide whether to do a truncated committee process or focus on several emergency certified bills that won’t get a public hearing.
“It’s too soon to tell,” Looney said.
Fasano said Lamont’s staff has done a great job communicating with legislative leadership and they’ve been apprised of Lamont’s decisions about how he’s operating the state.
Under an emergency, Lamont has broad and sweeping powers to act unilaterally.
Klarides said she’s fine with how things are currently being handled by the Lamont administration.
“At this moment the executive order is the fastest way to get anything done,” Klarides said Monday.
Lamont has signed 11 executive orders since declaring a state of emergency.
She said legislative leaders have been given input into how the administration should proceed.
“We have daily contact with his administration,” she added.