HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republican leaders are continuing to speak out against Governor Ned Lamont extending his emergency executive orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic through February 2021.
Republican leaders blasted the governor, saying legislators have been shut out of the process completely, and that checks and balances are needed.
Republican House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, “I’m sorry, easy and lazy is not what the State of Connecticut wants. They elected us to do a job. The state wants fighters.”
Rep. Vin Candelora (R-Branford) said, “The power [the governor] is taking right now is extraordinary.”
“We are calling on our Democratic colleagues to hold the committee meeting and have that debate: Should the governor have complete control?” Rep. Candelora added.
A committee of 10 leaders met in March and contemplated this. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Len Fasano (R) said at the time, “We’d have another opportunity after six months? Is that correct, Mr. chair?”
President of the Senate Martin Looney (D) responded, “Yes.”
By law, the committee can accept or reject the governor’s request to extend his executive orders. If they don’t meet within 72 -hours, Gov. Lamont’s wish is automatically granted.
Democratic House Majority Leader Matt Ritter defended the governor saying, “People keep saying he could be king for the next five months. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Rep. William ‘Bill’ Petit (R-New Britain) is a member of the Emergency Public Health committee. He added, “I think it’s time for us to represent the voices of our constituents.”
“If they believe it should be extended then sit down and defend that position. We should be able to, on the record, explain why we don’t think it should be defended,” insisted Rep. Klarides.
Democratic leaders say it’s about safety.
Rep. Ritter, “The governor’s executive orders can’t expire. It would be chaos in the state of Connecticut. In the snap of a finger, you wouldn’t have to wear masks anymore…you could have crowded bars.”
Governor Lamont says he’s following science and calling 187 members of the General Assembly in for a vote is not the way forward.
Governor Ned Lamont responded, “If you have particular items you feel really strongly about, come and see me. We can talk, get your point of view, but having everything up for a vote of 151 people I think would not be the way to go.”
Rep. Ritter tells News 8 the governor’s office and legislative leaders are meeting next week to go over all the Executive Emergency orders.
“Next week bring your pens, bring your lawyers, print the executive orders. Let us know which emergency orders you have a problem with and we will have a conversation.”
The legislature can call itself back into session for any purpose with a vote of 76 members of the House and 18 members of the Senate.
The November election is in 60 days. At which point, a new general assembly will be sworn in under this new unchartered power structure.
The governor has issued over 60 executive orders since March, which includes allowing him to close businesses and schools and establish travel quarantines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.