HARTFORD, CT — House Republican leaders are trying to convince their Democratic colleagues to sign a petition to start a special session, while Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano is pushing Gov. Ned Lamont for more information about the consultant he hired earlier this month.
Late Wednesday, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Deputy Minority Leader Vincent Candelora announced they were starting a petition to call themselves back into special session. They want to begin to address Lamont’s executive orders and the reopening.
In order to succeed they will need their Democratic colleagues to join them. A majority of lawmakers, 76 in the House and 19 in the Senate, would need to submit petitions to call a special session.
The last time the General Assembly succeeded at calling themselves into a special session was December 2017.
It was unclear Wednesday if Democratic lawmakers would support their effort. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said he’s talking with the Senate about coming in for a special session in June or July. Senate President Martin Looney said last week that he would be interested in “finding a way to come back into session to deal with legislation that might have been suggested to us because of the COVID crisis or to deal with some legislation that was pending during the session.”
But Looney didn’t think a special session was necessary to deal with Lamont’s executive orders.
Lamont has the power to call the legislature into a special session, but is leaving the decision up to them.
Lamont has been running the state through executive order since March “without meaningful consultation with the legislative branch,” Klarides and Candelora contend.
Lamont and his staff maintain that they have been consulting and informing legislative leaders every step of the way. However, Republican lawmakers say notifying them about what the governor is planning to do isn’t the same as listening to their suggestions.
“The governor’s emergency declarations expire September 9th, and through his recent decisions it’s become increasingly apparent that the legislature must be ready to act that day to provide much-needed checks and balances,” Klarides and Candelora said. “We must also have the flexibility to act on crucial issues that arise ahead of that date, from helping the governor develop common sense ‘reopen’ policies to ensuring that municipalities receive their fair share of federal relief dollars.”
Klarides and Candelora said the governor has “prioritized out-of-state consultants ahead of Connecticut’s elected officials and their constituents in his response to this crisis.”
Meanwhile, Fasano is asking Lamont to turn over all communications between Boston Consulting Group and his administration.
The state hired Boston Consulting Group earlier this month to help with the reopening.
According to BCG’s proposal letter to the state, Boston Consulting Group will provide “targeted analytics to support effective workplanning and strategy development – for example, helping understand the current state situation and potential scenarios for re-opening.”
Fasano wants to see emails between the consultants and Lamont, Chief of Staff Paul Mounds, Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe, the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Public Health and any other state agency that may have communicated with the group.
“Since these documents and communication are guiding the state’s reopening policies, I do not see why they would not all be readily available to be shared with legislative branch leaders and now ask that they be shared immediately,” Fasano wrote in a letter to Lamont.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, Lamont said “we’re happy to share whatever information people want.”
He said he’s happy to share communications.
“We’ve shared all this information with legislative leadership along the way,” Lamont insisted.
Fasano said he made his request for the information on May 19 and has yet to receive any response.