Governor Ned Lamont has extended the duration of nine executive orders through February 15, 2022, after his emergency powers were extended earlier this week.
One of them gives Lamont the authority to require masks in schools, childcare facilities and other high risk settings. That one has drawn sharp criticism from the public.
Another executive order that was extended requires long-term care facility workers, state hospital workers, state employees pre-k through 12 school workers and staff at childcare facilities to get vaccinated or test weekly.
One of the other executive orders extends protections for renters against evictions.
Senators debated for four hours with Republicans and a few Democrats saying two years is too long for Lamont's executive powers to continue.
“The peoples' voice is not being taken into consideration when the governor makes policy and that needs to be fixed," said Sen. Rob Sampson.
“I believe people in this state are fed up and frustrated. And more and more people every day are realizing that while COVID is something we still have to deal with it, it doesn’t rise to a level of an emergency," he added.
“I think that we’re well capable of dealing with the pandemic without an extension of the governor’s orders," said Sen. Cathy Osten.
Some Democrats and Lamont said extending the executive powers is a necessary step to keeping the COVID-19 pandemic contained in our state.
"We don’t know if there’s going to be a variant more deadly than the delta. We need to have flexibility in the executive to move when necessary,” Sen. Martin Looney said.
"I want the legislature involved. Sometimes they abdicate. Sometimes they don’t want to vote and I have to stand up and make some decisions," Lamont added.
In the end, the Senate did vote to extend Lamont's executive powers. It came down to a vote of 18 to 15.