Buoyed by new data showing continuing coronavirus infections and deaths in Connecticut and a dangerous resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country, and backed by a new Connecticut Supreme Court decision, state Sen. Mary Daugherty Abrams (D- Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) joined her Democratic colleagues in voting for a bill that extends Gov. Ned Lamont's pandemic emergency powers for another seven weeks.
"I support the passage of this bill to extend the governor's pandemic emergency powers until May 20," said Abrams, Senate Chair of the Public Health Committee. "We are vaccinating residents at one of the fastest rates in the nation and beginning to see some light at the end of this long and painful tunnel caused by the global pandemic. Still, COVID-19 is far from done with us, our nation or the world. Therefore, it is imperative that we do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 and harmful, more dangerous variants in order to put us in the best possible position to return to normalcy."
The Connecticut Supreme Court also issued a unanimous opinion confirming the constitutionality of Lamont’s use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that former President Donald Trump had invoked the 1988 federal Stafford Act in declaring the COVID-19 pandemic to be a "major disaster," the state Supreme Court ruled that the coronavirus pandemic in Connecticut also meets both the legal and plain-language definitions of “catastrophe” and “major disaster” in existing state law.
"It would be absurd for the statutory scheme to be interpreted such that the governor could declare a civil preparedness emergency for an event such as a snowstorm but not for the worst pandemic that has impacted the state in more than one century,” the court wrote in part.