Gov. Ned Lamont will extend the current public health emergency through April 20, a move that maintains his broad authority to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
Lamont told legislative leaders of his plan to extend the public health and civil preparedness emergency from the current Feb. 9 deadline.
Democratic legislative leaders said the announcement was not unexpected, but Republican lawmakers took issue with extending Lamont’s wide powers through the middle of April.
“In our view, the continued exercise of emergency powers has become a matter of convenience, rather than a matter of emergency,” Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford), the legislature’s minority leaders, said in a statement.
Republicans proposed extending Lamont’s executive powers until March 1, limiting any future extensions to 30 days, and requiring legislative approval for any extensions.
Democrats, who hold majorities in the House and Senate, disagree.
“Addressing the pandemic is larger than any one branch of government—Governor Lamont has worked with legislators to keep us all safe, respond to developments from Washington, and keep our economy going,” Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) said in a statement.
“A pandemic team with an unparalleled level of expertise has been assembled by the governor’s office and prematurely revoking emergency authority would disrupt Connecticut’s ability to respond to COVID and distribute the vaccine.”
Lamont and state agencies have issued dozens of executive orders since the pandemic began in March 2020.
His orders have closed businesses and schools, limited the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings, and required travelers from other states to quarantine.
Lamont last issued an executive order on Dec. 23 when he extended an eviction moratorium.