HARTFORD- State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123), Laura Devlin (R-134) and Ben McGorty (R-122) hailed passage of bi-partisan legislation which establishes a process for legislative oversight and approval of the allocation of COVID-19 funds received from the federal government to ensure Trumbull receives its fair share of the funds.
The legislation, House Bill 6555, Act Concerning Legislative Oversight and Approval of COVID-19 Relief Funds requires the Governor to submit a spending plan to the legislature for any additional federal COVID-19 funding from the federal government. The Appropriations Committee would review the recommendations and if necessary, modify the spending plan before it sends it to full general assembly for approval. It allows the state legislature to operate as the co-equal branch of government it was created to be.
“If we can come as a legislature and vote on certain pieces of legislation as we have since January 2021, we can and should be part of the state-wide conversation on spending priorities. I want to make sure Trumbull has a loud voice at the table. Our town has incurred many expenses and will have many COVID related issues and costs going forward, it is vital that we get our fair share of available funds. CT is about to receive $10 Billion in federal COVID relief money,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “I was happy to support this bipartisan vote which passed unanimously. The passage of this bill is necessary for the people of Connecticut as we continue to beat this virus together.”
Since the beginning of the legislative session in January, Rep. Devlin, along with her House Republican colleagues have been pressing to have a seat back at the table as a co-equal branch of government to address the issues around the pandemic including decisions related to schools, businesses, and public health.
“Although Its been over a year since we first gave the governor his emergency powers, I believe as more and more people are getting vaccinated and life is slowly returning to ‘normal’ we as a legislature need to also begin to return to the table,” said Rep. Devlin. “The people of Trumbull and Fairfield elected me and my colleagues to govern and legislate. Its’ time for the peoples voice to be heard and represented.”
Rep. McGorty, who was an early co-sponsor of the proposal, says there needs to be oversight to make sure the recovery aid is spent properly. “Whether it’s federal or state tax dollars that are being spent, they still come directly from Trumbull residents. We need to make sure every dollar is going to make sure our schools and businesses can reopen safely, not to fill holes in the budget,” Rep. McGorty said.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, the General Assembly allowed the Governor to have unilateral powers to enact policies to mitigate the spread of the virus. The Governor’s swift actions were necessary when the entire legislative body was unable to safely convene. Now, a year later, society has adapted to life under the constraints of COVID-19 and the state legislature has learned how to properly, and safely, conduct its business.