Prospects Look Slim for Bill on National Popular Vote
Prospects for Connecticut’s National Popular Vote Legislation looked slim when the bill didn’t make it on to the House of Representative’s agenda Saturday with less than four days left in the session.
If the bill were enacted, Connecticut would join seven other states whose Electoral College delegates are mandated to cast their votes for whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote.
But time is short in the session and both chambers of the legislature are choosing carefully which bills they raise, and when they raise them. The measure currently sits in the House, where supporters believe they have the votes to pass it.
However, proponent Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, said the chamber’s Democratic leadership is hesitant to devote time to what is sure to be a lengthy debate over the controversial bill. That is, unless they were sure the measure would be raised in the Senate.
“At this point I’m not optimistic,” he said.
Two proponents of the bill, Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford, said Friday that Senate Democrats have not met to discuss the bill, so it’s difficult to say whether it will be raised there.
Meyer said it’s up in the air whether they will even have time to meet and discuss the bill.
“It will be caucused if the leadership of the Senate supports it and believes in these last five days it’s important to go with it. I don’t think that determination has been made yet,” he said.
LeBeau said for the time being the Senate’s focus is on moving Senate bills out of the chamber. That’s because it is easier for the Senate to move bills already passed by the House at the last minute. As a result, measures already approved by the House have been collecting on the Senate calendar. LeBeau said the chamber likely will; start addressing some of those bills Monday.
But that won’t help the National Popular Vote measure if it hasn’t been passed by the House by then. So the bill sits in an apparent stalemate. LeBeau said the idea that leadership will set time aside to talk the bill over and count votes is questionable, considering the Senate already is in a “big time crunch.”
Asked what the chances were the measure would get caucused before the end of the session, LeBeau and Meyer called it a toss-up.
“If President Obama called the Senate President and said I want you to go with this, the odds change from 52/48 to 98 to two,” Meyer joked.
Both agreed that if the House took the time to debate and pass the measure, the Senate would give it greater consideration. The senators said they had asked House Speaker Chris Donovan to place the measure on the House Go-List. However, by Saturday afternoon the bill had not been placed on the House agenda.