The Connecticut House of Representatives voted to extend Governor Ned Lamont's emergency executive powers until February and on Tuesday, the Senate is voting on it.
The governor wants his powers extended through February 15, 2022. That is nearly two years since the first declaration of public health and civil preparedness emergencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
One of the reasons Lamont wants to extend his executive powers is to extend the mask mandate for school children.
We've heard a lot over the past several months from people who are against this, including students like Lucas Johnson, who walked out last Friday to protest the mask mandate.
"I think it really is a disruption to our learning environment as students," Johnson said. “There’s also a disconnect between students who are wearing a mask and teachers who are wearing a mask. For kids, who it’s already difficult to connect with their teachers, to do it through two face shields now where you can’t even see their face," he added.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers said they see the need for a temporary order to administer vaccines, but the governor is asking for much more.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said it's time for the legislative branch to take back its power.
“Their standard right now is, as long as COVID exists, an emergency exists, and that’s not the way democracy is supposed to work,“ Candelora said. "Democracy is stronger than COVID, we need to demonstrate that today."
Several protesters went to the state capitol on Monday to express the same feelings.
"The power needs to be returned to the people. We elected legislators to go and represent us," said Amy Bourdon.
“To hear he even wants to have another extension really shows he is abusing his powers," Valerie Marcella added.
Lamont said the legislators do have the power to amend the executive orders and veto them.
It passed in the House on Monday with a vote of 80 to 60. The Senate plans to discuss this and vote this morning.