HARTFORD, CT— Gov. Ned Lamont met with legislative leaders Monday and says they agreed to allow him to extend Connecticut’s public health emergency until February 9, 2021. However, not all lawmakers agree with the governor’s characterization of the meeting.
“It was never decided that any legislative leader would vote in favor of extending the governor’s powers. The governor and lawmakers discussed what would be an appropriate time period for an extension, if one was to be granted. However, no leader acquiesced to vote yes or no on any request for an expansion of his powers,” Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said.
Lamont’s emergency powers were scheduled to expire on Sept. 9.
“I think we all agreed that five months was an appropriate period of time,” Lamont said Monday of the extension.
Lamont will formally submit the request for renewal Tuesday to the 10-member committee, which includes the six leaders and the chairs and ranking members of the Public Health Committee. The committee will have 72 hours to reject the request.
“Five months gives our team flexibility to move quickly if situations change,” Lamont said.
There was an acknowledgment by lawmakers last week that it would be difficult for 187 legislators to legislate all the necessary policies to protect public health. However, Republican leaders were not necessarily on board with the time frame for the extension.
Fasano asked for a four-month extension.
Paul Mounds, Lamont’s chief of staff, said Sept. 9 would have been a “date of pure disruption in the state of Connecticut and would have made the state of Connecticut not as safe as it is today.”
The legislature is expected to return for the long session in January. Lamont will have to have his two-year budget proposal ready by February.
Many of the nearly 70 executive orders are set to expire on Sept. 9.
These executive orders require people to wear masks, mandate who should get tested, dictate who can visit nursing homes, and limit the capacity of indoor dining at restaurants.
“The reason you have to continue the emergency is that the legislature can’t act as quickly,” House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, has said.
Not only that, Ritter says, the governor has done a good job.
“I didn’t want all those emergency orders to come to an end on Sept. 9,” Lamont said Monday.