Connecticut lawmakers have decided to extend four of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s remaining pandemic-related executive orders, despite concerns raised by Republicans that it’s time to end the practice and get back to normal governing.
The Senate voted 19-13 on Tuesday to prolong orders until June 30 that deal with physical distancing in certain congregate settings; making the patient vaccination database available to medical providers; using temporary nurses aides to help alleviate staffing shortages; and providing more time to send out rental assistance payments to people facing eviction who’ve already applied to the state’s UniteCT program.
The emergency bill now awaits approval by the House of Representatives.
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Sen. Matthew Lesser, a Democrat from Middletown said the “small scope” of the legislation “reflects the fact that the state has been managing the COVID pandemic successfully and we are moving toward normalcy.” The four orders are slated to expire on April 15.
But several Republicans argued they should have gone through the regular legislative process, which involves hearings where members of the public can give their input.
“We need to return to our American system, our system where the people actually hold the control over what we do in this chamber and the House of Representatives,” said Sen. Rob Sampson, a Republican from Wolcott. “We should not be making policy like this.”
Lesser countered that some of the measures are going through the legislative process, including a bill that would replace the state Department of Public Health’s childhood immunization registry and tracking system with an immunization information system that provides vaccine recipients of all ages with access to their immunization records.