Lamont wants legislature to extend emergency powers again – NBC Connecticut
Governor Ned Lamont’s emergency powers expire on September 30. He has now told lawmakers he wants them extended again. If that happens, it will be the sixth time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The plan is to work with the legislature and extend it because the pandemic is not over and the need has not gone away,” Lamont said.
Lamont first signaled that he wanted to expand his powers last week during a discussion about rent assistance.
“I think we are working very closely with the owners, very closely with the judiciary, very closely with legal aid, but I think September 30 is too short,” Lamont said.
The legislature plans to hold an extraordinary session in September. The reasons for the expansion of the governor’s executive powers are still unclear.
“The legislature is expected to be back in session over the next few weeks,” Lamont said.
The governor’s chief of staff was unable to say exactly why they would recall the legislature in extraordinary session. He said it’s still a matter of debate between the two branches.
Republican lawmakers see no reason to expand it.
“The fact that we were able to manage this for 16 months told us that we are probably not in an emergency,” said Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly.
He said they can expand the rent assistance program without extending Lamont’s executive powers.
“By continuing these powers, we would be like one of the only northeastern states,” Kelly said.
“The next state that still works in these emergency powers is primarily our southern and midwestern states where they’re experiencing a different delta variant and a different outcome,” Kelly said.
Senate Speaker Martin Looney has said the emergency is even more serious now than it was in July – the last time they extended its powers.
“The daily rate of infection is always alarming, the daily number of positive tests, the number of people hospitalized,” Looney said.
Looney said the urgency still exists and it’s easier to let the executive handle these things.
“The legislature is a kind of battleship that takes its place while the executive is like a fast and shrewd sailboat,” he said.
Legislative leaders also now have the power to review and revoke any new executive orders they dislike.
“There is more legislative oversight and more legislative oversight now,” he added.
The six legislative leaders had not had to exercise their additional powers since their creation.