HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The executive orders established by Governor Ned Lamont during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic were set to expire on September 9. On Tuesday, the governor announced orders that extends the State of Emergency declaration and the resulting executive orders during that State of Emergency.
“We’ve come a long way from where we were when COVID-19 first hit Connecticut back in March, and working with our public health officials, other stakeholders, and residents, we’ve built an infrastructure that has taken our state to one of the lowest rates of transmission in the country,” Governor Lamont said.
“But Connecticut is not out of the woods yet, and the executive orders we’ve put in place remain critical in our daily fight to contain COVID-19. Bringing an abrupt end to this state of emergency at this time would cripple our ability to quickly respond to new challenges and risk the hard work and sacrifices everyone has made to protect our state from this disease,” continued Governor Lamont.
The Governor says he began issuing executive orders to do things like build filed hospitals when COVID cases were soaring and relax regulations to bring in more nurses – require face coverings in public – all in an effort to contain the virus.
He has released nearly 70 executive orders since March. They cover everything from elections to health care and the economy.
And the governor will have the ability to write more if necessary. But legislative leaders on the other side of the aisle say they want to collaborate more.
On Tuesday, State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, and State House Republican Leader Themis Klarides sent a letter to Democratic members of the Emergency Public Health and Civil Preparedness Declaration committees asking for the committee to be able to appeal or reject any executive order within 72 hours of its issuance.
That letter read, in part:
Republican legislative leaders and our respective caucuses have grave concerns over the extension of unilateral power to the executive branch and the full and total exclusion of the legislative arm of the government. We believe that the power must be given back to the elected representatives who have been elected by the people to act legislatively. Whether Governor Lamont did a good job or not is not what is in question. This is about protecting the operation of equal branches of government in which the people’s voices are heard through their representatives. To achieve that end, we need to reject the full extension of the Governor’s emergency powers without any additional checks and balances.
We believe that if the Governor is going to extend the public health emergency declaration we also need to give the power back to the people and create a better process that brings the voices of the public into a process that they have been completely shut out of. That is why we are urging the Governor to grant the committee the ability to appeal or reject any executive order within 72 hours of its issuance.Letter from Len Fasano and Themis Klarides
Following Monday’s meeting, State Sen. George Logan (R – Naugatuck) added, “When this all kicked off, the governor even said, ‘hey we are going to base decisions, we’re going to move forward based on science and data.’ Well, we have done that in terms of being able to monitor, look at the science, look at the data. They are all going in the right direction. Let’s continue to monitor it, but we need to get back to the work of the people here in the state of Connecticut.”
“I’d like to think we are on the backside of COVID, back to regular practice. And in the meantime, the legislature is chock-a-block working on the energy bill and a number of other key initiatives,” the governor said.
According to Senator Fasano’s office, Tuesday’s order is Governor Lamont’s official request for the extension, and it will not be up to the Emergency Public Health and Civil Preparedness Declaration committees to decide if that request is granted.
With the latest executive order, masks and restrictions will remain in place and the governor will be able to continue to lead with executive orders in that capacity.
Connecticut continues to show promising signs in its battle against the virus. as of yesterday, 52 people are hospitalized due to the virus. At the height of the pandemic, nearly 1,000 were hospitalized.