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State Rep. Kathy Kennedy: Op-ed: Representing the People

Posted on February 3, 2022


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On February 9, 2022 we begin the new legislative session for the General Assembly and with the new session we bring an end to Governor Lamont’s emergency executive powers after nearly 2 years. The Connecticut State Legislature will again undertake their proper role as one of the three branches of government.

There are eleven remaining Executive Orders that will expire on February 15, 2022. 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.

As the legislator for Milford and Orange, it’s it is my responsibility to represent the voices of my constituents as a co-equal branch of state government. That’s why I also strongly believe that should the eleven remaining Executive Orders issued by Governor Lamont come to a vote, they need to be voted on separately and not as a full package of 11 EO’s into 1 vote. Each of these orders addresses very specific matters. Some may not have compelling reasons to extend, while for others, like addressing hospital staff and teacher shortages the need may be necessary. Packaging these Executive Orders together for a single vote only serves to shield legislators from the accountability their constituents expect and deserve.

Over the last few weeks, I have received numerous emails from parents concerning the mask mandate in schools, some of these parents also happen to be teachers. The central message of the emails I’ve received are all the same, unmask our kids. Many constituents believe the mask mandate is no longer justified, and that it’s an unscientific mandate that is negatively impacting the well-being of our children. I am concerned about the increasing number of children suffering from speech and language development, anxiety, depression and yes, even suicide. The time has come to remove the mask mandate, or at least permit the legislature to vote up or down on the executive order which mandates masks.

In representing the voice of the people, we should also provide a forum for them to share with us directly, which is the purpose of the public hearing process. Before any Executive Orders are codified in state law, the public deserves the opportunity to be heard and observe their representative leaders vote on the matter.

As always, please contact me should you have any questions about this important issue or concerns on any other topics relating to state government at Kathy.Kennedy@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.

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