Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday he plans to ask Connecticut lawmakers to extend his public health emergency powers until April 20, noting that the state is beginning to see more cases of a highly infectious COVID-19 variant.
The Democrat’s special executive authority, originally granted by leaders of the General Assembly last year to help speed up the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, was already extended once. It was set to expire on Feb. 9.
“We think by April 20, we’re going to have a really good handle on where we stand in terms of vaccinations, where we stand on the supply of vaccinations, where we stand on bending the curve, where we stand compared to that super contagious variant of the germ that’s out there hitting us every day right now,” Lamont said.
Lamont said if lawmakers have issues with any of the dozens of executive orders he has signed, they can always pass legislation that addresses them “on a one-off basis.”
The governor said he’d “take a look at” one order that provides legal immunity for nursing homes and hospitals during the pandemic, a protection that has drawn criticism from some families and nursing home advocates, but noted it “makes some sense” to keep it in place a little longer as facilities deal with the COVID-19 variants.
State public health officials confirmed Monday that the UK variant has been detected in four more residents, for a total of eight. All live in New Haven County.
Meanwhile on Monday, the two Republican leaders of the Democratic-controlled legislature suggested extending Lamont’s emergency powers only until March 1, allowing Lamont time to provide a “persuasive metric-based case” for extending any particular order. They said lawmakers should discuss which orders to enact into law and limit any future declarations to no more than 30 days, only to be extended by a vote of the full General Assembly.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, and Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, also want at least a 10-day notification for any modifications to sector rules for businesses and an end to the 100-person capacity limit on places of worship.