The Town of West Hartford was able to issue a new mask mandate last week through authority permitted by the governor’s existing executive orders.
By Hugh McQuaid, CTNewsJunkie.com
Gov. Ned Lamont has been reluctant to reveal how he plans to handle the looming expiration of his emergency orders and legislative leaders were unsure Tuesday whether next month’s session would begin with a marathon debate on COVID policy.
The governor’s emergency authority, which is set to expire on Feb. 15, serves as the basis for ongoing orders ranging from mask requirements in schools to vaccine mandates for workers in certain fields. Lamont has maintained the authority since March 10, 2020, and the state legislature last voted to extend it in September.
But on Tuesday, as COVID cases surged amidst spread of the omicron variant and hospitalizations stood at 1,920 – just shy of the state’s April 2020 record of 1,972 – lawmakers said the administration had yet to ask for an extension or communicated their plans.
“The necessary meetings between the legislative branch and the executive branch that need to occur have not occurred,” House Speaker Matt Ritter said. “I’m not blaming anyone for that– this is Republicans, Democrats, everybody. There is a train heading down the track a month from now and I believe we need to have conversations much more rapidly.”
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