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Lamont's Emergency Powers Extended Through Feb. 15

Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont
Jessica Hill
Associated Press
Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont

Connecticut state lawmakers have approved extending Democratic Governor Ned Lamont’s COVID-19 emergency powers until February. It passed in the House Monday and in the Senate on Tuesday.

It’s the sixth time since the beginning of the pandemic that lawmakers have continued Lamont’s emergency powers.

Republicans had opposed the move claiming COVID-19 is no longer a health care emergency. But Democrats argued that Lamont’s powers are still needed to stave off evictions, allocate federal pandemic relief and continue mask mandates.

Senate President Martin Looney said a bipartisan group of six legislative leaders could still weigh-in on Lamont’s emergency orders.

“The committee of six leaders can meet within 72 hours to consider any of the emergency orders the governor has issued and potentially repeal them,” Looney said.

Lamont said he appreciates that lawmakers have extended his powers.

“I want the Legislature involved. Sometimes they abdicate. They don’t want to vote and I have to stand up and make some decisions. I think we’ve made decisions that mean that today Connecticut has the highest vaccination rate and the lowest infection rate in the country,” Lamont said.

Lamont’s emergency powers now expire on February 15. That’s a week after lawmakers resume their regular legislative session next year.

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.