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Connecticut House votes to extend Lamont’s pandemic emergency powers

Connecticut Legislature
Jessica Hill
Associated Press
Connecticut Speaker of the House Matt Ritter speaks during opening session at the State Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Hartford.

The Connecticut House has voted to extend some of Governor Ned Lamont’s pandemic emergency powers. Democrats passed the measure along party lines amid Republican opposition.

The vote grants Lamont the authority to continue some of his pandemic emergency orders, including the statewide school mask mandate, said House Speaker Matt Ritter. It's unwieldy for a large legislative body to make such decisions, he said.

“Politicians and elected bodies, it's harder for us. That’s why we are going to try to follow the guidance of the CDC, in this case the public health commissioner,” said Ritter.

Lamont and state public health commissioner Manisha Juthani want the statewide school mask mandate to end on February 28. After that, local school districts would decide.

Republicans, including Minority Leader Vincent Candelora argued that the mask mandates are no longer needed, especially for school children.

Remove the masks on them. If parents want to continue to have masks on their children, that option can be provided,” Candelora said.

The bill heads to the Senate for a vote on Monday.

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.