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Lamont wants lawmakers involved in some future pandemic decisions, but not all

Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont
Jessica Hill
Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s emergency powers to deal with the pandemic expire next month. He wants to hold onto some of those powers but wants lawmakers to weigh-in on mask mandates.

For the past two years, Lamont has had unfettered authority to deal with the pandemic. That is because lawmakers have extended his emergency powers six times. The latest extension expires in mid-February.

There are some places where I think you’d like the executive to have a narrow area where I’m able to move quickly in order to protect the public health,” said Lamont, indicating that he still needs some of those powers.

“I agree with the governor that there may be certain areas where it is absolutely essential to enable a quick response to a crisis that only the executive can do,” said Democratic Senate President Martin Looney, in support of the governor’s approach.

The Republican caucus is against any further extension of the governor’s emergency powers, said Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly.

If we need executive authority to move quickly on something, that may come up, but let’s see it on a case-by-case basis,” Kelly said.

That’s a position that is supported by some Democrats.

Lamont’s legal office is coming up with a narrow set of executive orders to present to lawmakers for an extension.

It’s likely to be the first major issue of contention when the General Assembly reconvenes in February.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.