Bolinsky Against Governor’s Request For Extension To Executive Powers
HARTFORD — In a plea to reintroduce the voices of all Connecticut residents to state government and public process, State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) stood alongside his fellow House Republican colleagues Wednesday in opposition to Governor Ned Lamont’s request for a 5-month extension of his executive powers, initially granted by the legislature during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order granting these powers is set to expire on September 9, 2020, but the Governor’s request would provide him sole authority to extend his unilateral governance into February, 2021.
House members have demanded to meet with the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Public Health Committee, House and Senate leadership and Governor Lamont to discuss this request and share their and their constituents’ concerns. By law, such a meeting to ‘nullify’ the original request must be held within 72 hours of the order’s date of issuance, which occurred Tuesday, September 1.
Rep. Bolinsky was quick to point out Connecticut’s status as a leader in ‘beating the curve,’ acknowledging his gratitude for the Governor’s actions to help us get and maintain an infection rate of under 1 percent and an exponential reduction in hospitalizations. He reminded residents to remain vigilant as the way to prevent a very real threat of a resurgence of the virus, saying, “It’s crucial we all continue to take precautions, maintain social distancing, wear masks, and practice the good hygiene that has gotten us to the point where, in my opinion, we don’t need five-more months of extreme lockdown.” He suggested a cautious compromise and a 30-day extension of powers to plan specific contingencies, should we need to react to a resurgence.
“As State Representative and the lawmaking & state policy voice of 25,000 Newtowners, I feel it’s critical that we in the legislature come together to deliberate, fine-tune, and vote on important issues, as we did during the July special session and may do again in September. We’ve learned so much and come so far. Governor Lamont has led a good effort to bring us through this emergency and I have been supportive all the way until now. This is the time for the governor to reengage with the elected state representatives who have that special direct link to the people of our state,” said Rep. Bolinsky. “We must continue to use the best available science and data to make decisions that don’t cause unnecessary and sustained harm to the social fabric of our communities, peoples’ livelihoods, the business community, and the overall economy.
“Many Newtown residents are experiencing limited hours, seriously reduced incomes, or are still out of work. Businesses are shuttered due to the pandemic and a delayed Phase 3 reopening. Peoples’ desperation is turning to frustration and leaving many feeling they have no voice because the government is ‘closed.’ Extending the emergency powers of one man into 2021 at a time when science and the CDC indicate that the threat has been reduced for all but the most vulnerable individuals amongst us is worthy of reconsideration.
“We’re in an unprecedented time, but it’s also an important time to make sure we do all we can to protect the people of our state without using broad, ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions everywhere and indefinitely. I prefer the approach the state took to reopening our schools. They issued ‘guidance’ and resources but left the hard decisions up to each district because, no one knows what’s best for Newtown than Newtown. I have heard from constituents who support a similar reopening model for our economy. We already have the guidelines, by phase. Shouldn’t we let localities decide based on their unique circumstances and be ready to pivot quickly if or when a resurgence begins? Isn’t that the essence of democracy?” concluded Rep. Bolinsky.
The governor has yet to respond to this request and Majority Legislative Leaders are supporting his extension of power.