Connecticut General Assembly

Lawmakers to Be Sworn in Outside State Capitol

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COVID-19 has changed lots of traditions, including how lawmakers will get sworn in on Jan. 6. 

"It will be brisk enough to keep the speeches short, but it will be bearable enough to be outdoors I think,” Senate President Martin Looney said. 

Looney said lawmakers will be sworn in outside the state Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6. 

Our NBC Connecticut meteorologists are predicting temperatures in the low 40s and partly cloudy skies. The outdoor ceremony held on the north steps is a chilly concession to the COVID-19 virus, which is expected to force much of the early session into the digital realm and limit the number of bills.

“There’s not going to be a normal opening day address from the governor. I’m not sure if he’s doing it live via Zoom or a prerecorded message of some kind, but it will not be from the chamber,” incoming House Speaker Matt Ritter said. 

Lamont spokesman Max Reiss said the governor’s address will be from his office and not from the dais in the House chamber.

“The governor will give his speech at noon, but it won’t be in a packed house chamber,” Looney said. 

What Can the Public Expect? 

“An austere swearing-in ceremony, but also powerful and important, right? To have your state government sworn in every two years. The voters spoke in November about who they want to send up there. I think it’s important for the public to know the legislature is back in session,” Ritter said. 

Lamont has been running the state largely through his executive authority since March. 

"But I think it's time as we're coming out of this pandemic, hopefully, that we begin to act as a legislative body and a co-equal branch of government again,” incoming House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said. 

Candelora said it's important to keep the process as open as possible if the building has to remain closed to the public.

Ritter said he’s not worried about the protesters who are expected to show up at the Capitol over a variety of issues, from COVID-19 restrictions to potential legislation over childhood vaccinations. 

The virtual nature of opening day will continue through the session. 

“Also, of course all the public hearings and committee meetings for the foreseeable future will also have to be virtual,” Looney said. 

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