HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The governor’s pandemic executive orders are set to expire in four weeks. But news out of the state capitol is that may not happen. Instead, the rules could be extended for an extra 30-days.
The governor met with Democratic leaders on Thursday. News 8 Chief Political Correspondent Jodi Latina was informed by House Speaker Matt Ritter that lawmakers are considering “a bridge bill” to extend the orders and the emergency declaration.
Republicans say they were snubbed and left out of the meeting. They are still waiting for an invite from Governor Ned Lamont.
A letter from Republicans dated back in January says “The continued exercise of emergency powers has become a matter of convenience rather than an emergency.”
Speaker of the House Matt Ritter says deciding on the next steps is not easy. “It’s not just going to be like the switch is on or off.”
A bill extending all emergency orders through May could be on the table as early as next week.
RItter’s team got to the third order issued by the governor last year it was focused on relaxing standards on hand sanitizer.
The Speaker realized deciding which orders should stay and which should go wasn’t going to be easy. Recalling a text chain with his Majority Leader.
“I texted Jason (Rojas) and said you know I think that’s okay we should continute it. Jason said do we need to continue it? Isn’t there enough hand sanitizer now?”
Republicans say they’ve been asking to weigh in since January.
Republican Minority Leader in the Senate, State Senator Kevin Kelly said, “Now they’re saying we don’t have time. It’s like a kid coming to school saying I didn’t do my homework last night and I need more time or an extension to get it in.”
“The last eleven months the governor has gotten used to ruling by fiat,” remarked State Representative Vin Candelora. The Republican House Minority Leader.
It’s likely the emergency orders that remain will hinge on health issues; such as allowing medical assistants and pharmacists to continue giving vaccinations and continuing the mask mandate.
The governor admits having the legislature weigh-in gives clarity to a recent court ruling and helps with federal reimbursements.
Governor Ned Lamont said, “If we could have them all weigh in and state this… it would be clearer… especially when it comes to the emergency declaration and FEMA.”
Of the 90 orders some have gained traction; like cocktails to go at restaurants and expanded patio permitting, others like capacity limits and curfew hours have hit businesses hard. This would be the third extension of the governor’s emergency powers.
Prior, a committee of ten extended the declaration. This time the full legislature would have a say.
“This is going to now require the executive branch to interact with the legislative branch again which hasn’t occurred in the last eleven months, ” added Candelora.
Which one of Governor Lamont’s executive orders would you like to see made permanent?
- Face coverings or a higher level of protection required in public wherever close contact is unavoidable;
- Extension of expanded outdoor dining;
- Curbside pickup of alcoholic beverages permitted; or
- Modifications to permit the use of absentee ballots.