On July 14, I voted against a resolution to extend the governor’s executive powers granted at the onset of COVID-19.
The resolution, which extends these powers until Sept. 30, passed 74-56 with all Republicans and nine Democrats voting in opposition. This is the sixth extension of the governor’s powers since the pandemic began. Thanks to Republican legislation that was turned into a Special Act this session (Special Act 21-5), legislative approval for such extensions has been required since May.
The facts are clear: The state is no longer in an emergency situation and this extension is unnecessary. State employees are back to work, agencies are functioning, and the legislature is clearly able to convene and vote when necessary. At any point, if the situation gets worse, the governor could simply declare another emergency.
So far 24 other states have ended their orders, including all Northeast states except Connecticut. Kansas, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were able to negotiate with President Biden to keep receiving additional funding for SNAP once their emergency powers expired, which would be easy enough for us to do as well with a Democrat in the governor’s office.
The great loss here is the loss of democracy. We cannot let Governor Lamont continue to rule by executive power- 18 months is long enough! It’s the legislature’s turn to start making tough decisions about our next steps on behalf of the people we are supposed to represent- we can’t just leave it all to the governor like we have since March of 2020.
It is certainly easier for sure to take this path, but it is not what we were elected to do.
I hope that if we are asked to vote again to extend in September, the majority will accept our reality and vote to end these powers once and for all.
State Representative Lezlye Zupkus (R-89)