Lawmakers extend Gov. Lamont’s COVID-19 emergency into 2022

Connecticut will stay under a COVID-19 emergency until next year after state lawmakers extended it until Feb. 15.
It marked the sixth time lawmakers have given sweeping powers to Gov. Ned Lamont. Included under the emergency are requirements for masks in schools and a mandate for vaccines for teachers, school bus drivers and nursing home workers.
Half of states still have a COVID-19 emergency. But in the Northeast where infection rates are low, it's only Connecticut and Rhode Island. It has prompted his critics to call for an end to the emergency once and for all.
Gov. Lamont says he still needs flexibility to make quick decisions, especially when it comes to rolling out vaccines to children. Top lawmakers from both parties can veto his orders.
"I want them involved. I want them to weigh in. They have the right to weigh in on any single executive order I do,” said the Democratic governor.
Homeless shelters say they need an emergency too. Without it, the federal government won't pay for hotel rooms this winter.
But opponents say the crisis is over. Republicans are trying to shift the conversation to rising crime in the state ahead of the 2022 election cycle.
"COVID is a horrible and dangerous disease that has taken the lives of far too many adults, especially older adults. But rising violence and crime is stealing the lives of far too many young Connecticut residents today,” said state Sen. Ryan Fazio (R-Greenwich), who won a special election just last month.
Gov. Lamont says this should be the last time he asks for an extension. Even top Democrats say this is probably the last one he’s going to get.