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Connecticut lawmakers vote to extend Lamont's COVID powers

Connecticut lawmakers have agreed that Gov. Ned Lamont's emergency declarations first issued in March of 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic should be extended. The governor asked legislators to renew his declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies through Sept. 30, noting he's only seeking to extend 11 executive orders. That's compared to a high of more than 300 at one point during the crisis.

New Milford Senator Craig Miner believes the variants will exist longer than his lifetime, and that shouldn't be the basis for renewing the declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies.  But Ridgefield Senator Will Haskell countered that the declaration is necessary for federal funding to continue.  He questioned if his colleagues would fund the extra SNAP food benefits or FEMA housing assistance if the orders were to end.

In the Senate, the resolution passed on a 19-15 vote, with four Democrats joining the GOP in voting no.

Redding Representative Anne Hughes, a member of the Progressive caucus often at odds with Lamont was one of 9 Democrats in the House in opposition.  She says they should be willing to come in and do the will of the people to meet the threat of emergencies as they come up, even though the General Assembly is a part-time legislature. 

Wilton Republican Representative Tom O'Dea says local communities should decide how best to protect students and teachers, and about mask requirements.  He says lawmakers are abdicating their role by passing the legislation. 

Bethel State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan voted against extending Governor Lamont's emergency powers.  While he applaud the Governor for navigating Connecticut through the pandemic, the 11 orders raised as a reason for the extension can and should be addressed by the legislature.  24 states have ended their emergency declarations, but have been given permission from the President to access federal dollars. Allie-Brennan says he received countless constituent emails and phone calls in opposition to an extension. 

Kent Representative Maria Horn voted with the slim majority of state lawmakers yesterday to extend Governor Lamont's executive powers to deal with the pandemic.  While acknowledging that the state could use federal relief money, Horn called it a drop in the bucket compared to the state budget.  She also touted oversight put in place during the regular General Assembly session.

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Brian Kilmeade

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