The General Assembly voted last week for a 44-word resolution extending Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers through Sept. 30, making Connecticut among the last in the northeast under a COVID-19 state of emergency.
Lamont has lifted nearly all restrictions imposed under his emergency authority since March 9, 2020, with the most visible and contentious exception being a requirement for mask wearing by the unvaccinated in schools and other indoor public places.
Plainville’s representatives in Hartford – Republicans Henri Martin and William Petit – voted no on extending Lamont’s emergency powers.
"There is no longer a public health emergency related to the pandemic that warrants the continuation of these emergency orders until Sept. 30 that the legislative branch isn't equipped to handle," state Rep. Petit said in a press release. "We swore to uphold the constitution and in order to do so need three equal participating branches of government. And right now with the continuation of these emergency powers that isn't the case."
"Connecticut remains one of the most highly vaccinated states in the nation and as a result, many of our state agencies, businesses and residents have returned back to normal,” Petit added. “The legislature has the ability to deal with laws which need attention and the governor can create common sense executive orders when needed and the legislature can address those orders if necessary.”
Despite unanimous opposition from House Republicans and nine House Democrats, the House voted 73-56 in favor of allowing the governor to continue his executive authority. This authorization is the sixth extension of this authority since the original declaration went into effect on March 10, 2020.
Concurrent debates in the House and Senate took place Wednesday, July 14.
Passage came on votes of 73-56 in the House and 19-15 in the Senate, with nine House Democrats and four Senate Democrats joining the GOP minority in opposition — the strongest evidence to date of internal opposition to the Democratic governor over his powers.
Prior to casting his no vote, state Sen. Henri Martin stated in a press release, “This is a straightforward vote which the Democrats are trying to cloud with threats of losing federal funding and slow-moving government. Plain and simple, this is a power grab by the majority. Based on the science, and even based on the actions of surrounding states, the ’emergency’ has waned and it’s time to start returning all three branches of government to their normal checks and balances and give the people back their normal lives.”
“I am proud to be joined by my senate Republican colleagues today in taking a unified stand for representative government,” Martin added. “I was elected to serve the 100,000 people of the 31st District and it is unacceptable that the majority continues to shirk their responsibilities and allow the Governor to make blanket decisions.”
The Connecticut Mirror
was used in this report.