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Klarides: 'No Collaboration' With Governor Over COVID-19 Executive Orders

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby), seen here in a 2019 file photo. On Wednesday, Klarides spoke out against Gov. Ned Lamont announcing an extension of his public health and civil preparedness emergencies.

State Republican lawmakers say Gov. Ned Lamont shouldn’t have extended his emergency powers under the pandemic for five more months.

Lamont has extended the public health and civil preparedness emergencies to Feb. 9. Initially declared in March, the emergency declarations were set to expire Sept. 9.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) said she and her colleagues should be able to work with the governor on his executive orders, but there has yet to be real collaboration.

“Unfortunately, there’s no transparency and there’s no ability to work together right now, and that is something the state demands and the state should have,” Klarides said.

Klarides was joined by Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford), who said Lamont had indicated in the past that orders were executed with the cooperation of the Connecticut General Assembly. Candelora says that wasn’t actually the case.

“There has been zero collaboration since March,” Candelora said. “We’ve been told things 10 minutes before the press is alerted to issues.”

“That’s a problem -- and if they believe collaboration should occur, don’t just say it. Do it.”

Lamont weighed in on the opposition from state Republicans, saying he didn’t think it was necessary to include all Connecticut lawmakers in any emergency decision-making process amid the pandemic.

“I think the process has worked pretty well,” Lamont said. “If you think I’m opening schools too fast, if you think I’m opening bars too slowly, if you have particular items that you feel really strong about, come and see me and we can get your point of view. But, having everything up for a vote of [187] people I think would be not the way to go.”

He said he’d work with people in his administration, like chief of staff Paul Mounds, to keep lawmakers informed.

While Klarides would like the full legislature involved in executive orders, she said that as a compromise a small group of lawmakers could weigh in on each one.

She’s hoping a committee of 10 lawmakers put in place to check the governor’s ability to extend his executive powers will nullify his declaration -- or at least convene to ask Lamont to include the committee in the creation of future pandemic-related executive orders.

That group, which includes five Democrats and five Republicans, has 72 hours to act from the time Lamont invoked his authority to extend his executive powers. A majority vote is needed to overturn his ruling.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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