Gov. Ned Lamont wants the legislature to extend his executive powers before the end of the month. There’s also at least one thing he’s contemplating doing on his own.
“The masking, the vaccine protocols, the next generation of vaccination if we can get that done. Starting with state employees, starting with healthcare workers,” Lamont says is on his agenda.
Lamont wants to extend the mask requirement for children under the age of 12 attending school. He also wants to be able to set up clinics for booster shots.
“I’ve used the executive powers very narrowly related to Covid and public health and I think that’s given them some confidence we’re not going to abuse this authority,” Lamont says.
Lamont's powers, some of which have been in place since the outset of the pandemic, expire on Sept. 30. That gives the legislature about 15 days to hold a session to extend them.
“I think probably Feb. 1 makes some sense. March 1, give them a little bit of time to figure out how we want to proceed,” Lamont says.
Not everyone agrees he needs an extension.
“The governor doesn’t need this broad authority to continue to micromanage businesses or other industries. To me it’s just an overreach that shouldn’t be utilized,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora says.
Candelora also doesn’t think a program to verify vaccination status is needed.
“Businesses are not going to want to be in that business,” Candelora says.
Candelora says the so-called vaccine passport like the one they have in New York is not helpful.
“Having just gone to a game in Yankee Stadium a couple weeks ago they said the rollout in New York was a complete disaster for them and they moved away from it,’ Candelora says.
He added: “we’re going to create confrontation and what are we really benefiting from given that both people who are vaccinated or unvaccinated could still get COVID.”
Lamont’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe says it’s a convenience the public wants.
“We’re talking about giving an individual an easier digital tool to show that they’ve been vaccinated,” Geballe says.