connecticut state capitol

Lawmakers Return For 2022 Legislative Session Is Full of Uncertainty

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The 2022 legislative session starts in a month. It's been more than a year since Connecticut residents have been able to address their lawmakers in person.

The public is only allowed on the first floor of the State Capitol and legislative office building. Now lawmakers have to decide whether the people should have the ability to come to the building to testify in person.

“Zoom was widely popular so I think Zoom was part of the fabric of testifying to the legislature forever, I don’t think it will ever go away,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said. 

Ritter was unable to say whether in-person hearings are coming back immediately.

“It is I think everybody’s goal to have the building be open but it’s also everybody's goal to keep people safe,” Ritter said. 

When will a decision be made?

“As we get close to the end of January, I think that by then we’ll need to make an assessment and inform everybody how we’re going to operate,” Senate President Martin Looney said. 

Looney says they could have more in-person opportunities later in the session if  COVID subsides.

“The conditions can change sometimes as the session goes along,” Looney said. 

“Right now we’re having serious discussions about whether we start out virtual and we transition to sort of an in-person structure as things settle down,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said. 

Candelora says plans are fluid.

“Being virtual is not working in my opinion from a legislative perspective and I think we all want to get back to normal as a legislature,” he said. 

But COVID may have other plans.

“There’s going to be a mask mandate for the foreseeable future. We may have to require a negative test at some point,” Ritter said. “We may make changes week by week. It may be very touch-and-go.” 

Lawmakers plan to make an announcement at the end of January.

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