HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A big protest Monday at the state capitol called the “Stop Lamont Rally.”
Hundreds of demonstrators calling for an end to Governor Ned Lamont’s emergency pandemic powers.
“Vote them out!” was the chant of a group of 200-people many carrying signs and a statue “stop King Ned”. Bill Guiffredo of Naugatuck said, “This is actual tyranny. This is a subtle form, but it has ramifications that go well beyond just the COVID.”
“I think it’s arbitrary. I don’t think they are following the science. I think that our legislators are not involved in the actual decisions that are being made.”
The group is also asking for the freedom to choose whether they wear masks and get COVID vaccinations.
Donna Richio of East Haven admits there is a distinction. “I think some people should have them and that’s their right and some people don’t want them and they shouldn’t be forced to.”
Last week, the governor sent a five-page letter to legislative leaders requesting his emergency powers be extended another two months to Sept. 30.
This would be the fifth time Lamont’s pandemic emergency executive powers could be extended. State Representative Greg Howard a Republican who represents Stonington asked the crowd: “Who remembers ‘get your shot, have your freedom back?’ When does it end?”
But Lamont says there are important reasons to extend the powers. Including federal reimbursements and the ability to require masks in certain situations like when you walk into a store or ride public transportation.
Governor Lamont, the Democratic leader of Connecticut, says, “There’s a very narrow group of reasons why we want to continue this. They [lawmakers] can veto any executive order they want on a very timely basis and they haven’t chosen to do that yet.”
Lawmakers extended the powers last September and again, in January of this year.
Once again in March and in May, the legislature passed a bill requiring the general assembly to take a vote on any extension of the COVID-19 emergency declarations. These conservative caucus members say they will vote ‘NO.’
State Representative Jay Case, a Republican from Torrington, said, “We are looking forward to Wednesday and telling the governor ‘no.'”
At the rally, former Republican Candidate for governor, Bob Stefanowski. Unclear on whether he will run again – Stefanowski is clear on the ‘power debate.’
“This is all about preventing him from this emergency power that quite honestly – he doesn’t need at this point,” said Stefanowski.
“The burden is on him to come to us and say ‘here’s the authority I need’ and ‘here’s why we need it,’ and he hasn’t done that.”
The former candidate went on to say the focus should be on stopping crime, adding, “people are being killed out there and we’re talking about Emergency Powers.”
That in reference to the high death toll in the Capitol City of Hartford because of recent shootings.
Carol Platt Liebau, President of Yankee Institute for Public Policy, said, “And as free people, we should claim for ourselves as many decisions as possible – rather than meekly bowing our head to government commands. That includes claiming the decision whether our children wear masks in the fall. That is a decision that belongs with parents – especially given that children pose an infinitesimal risk both of spreading COVID and of being seriously harmed by it, and that a vaccine is available to anyone who wants it. As a last resort, the decision should be a local one, where parents’ voices can be heard and have an impact.”
Lawmakers will come back here Wednesday during a special session to vote on the extension. The governor’s powers are set to expire in one week.
At the height of the pandemic, there were approximately 300-executive orders issued. Lamont would like to keep 11 of them active.