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State Rep. Laura Devlin: Statement on the Extension of the Governor’s Executive Powers

Posted on January 25, 2022


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The 2022 state legislative session begins on February 9. Currently, the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders are extended through February 15th, 2022. On Friday, January 21 the Governor sent a letter to all legislators requesting to extend the emergency and 11 of the existing Executive Orders, including masks in schools. I have voted against extending the Governor’s powers and the Executive Orders in the past and will do so again. I believe it is past time that we re-establish the legislature as a co-equal branch of government.

One of the orders the governor has asked to continue is EO 9-1, which includes the provision for a state-wide mask mandate, which I do not support for the following reasons:

I believe strongly in science-based decision-making but as of yet, I have not seen peer-reviewed scientific evidence that supports continued masking of children in schools.

  • In states that have no mask mandate vs. the 14 that do, including Connecticut, there is virtually no variation in incidence rates.
  • Most countries outside the US, along with the WHO do not recommend masking children.
  • There is growing evidence that the negative impact of masks is outweighing any perceived benefit they provide. The CDC and other medical professionals have stated that cloth masks (by and large what children wear) were never considered effective but provided some sense of protection while sparing a rush on surgical and other masks for health care providers. What is likely the best preventative measure, while not perfect, is vaccination.

Adults are not forced to mask, and if they are it is up to local leaders and public health officials to make that determination based on conditions within the community.  Therefore, when children are not in school, they are free to visit all sorts of venues and interact with other children and adults in mask-free environments.

The purpose of the state legislature is to represent the voice of the people. That’s also why I firmly believe that before any action is taken in the House or Senate, that a public hearing be held on these Executive Orders, so we can hear from parents, teachers, and health professionals. Should the Executive Orders come for a vote, they should be voted on individually and not in bulk.