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Second Closed-Door Meeting Just As Productive As The First

by Christine Stuart | Mar 8, 2013 12:14am
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Town News, Newtown, Public Safety, State Capitol

Christine Stuart photo

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero and Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney

Republican and Democratic legislative leaders emerged from a four-and-a half hour meeting Thursday optimistic they’ll be able to come to an agreement on post-Newtown legislation, including some of the more controversial gun proposals.

But it was too soon to tell if they’ll be able to reach agreement on all of the issues. They’re still hammering out the “nitty gritty of how each issue will play out,” according to Sen. President Donald Williams. “It’s still too early to tell.”

Thursday was the second time leaders met behind closed-doors to work on language for an emergency certified bill expected to be voted on by the full General Assembly some time in the next few weeks.

Williams and Majority Leader Martin Looney were stopped in front of the elevators outside House Speaker Brendan Sharkey’s office where the meeting took place Thursday.

Looney said they reached an understanding on several issues, but the sticking point will come when they draft the language to reflect that understanding.

Republican Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero said Thursday’s meeting was productive and the two parties educated each other on their own proposals. He said there were some misconceptions about what exactly each side was looking to achieve.

Christine Stuart photo

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, Sen. Martin Looney and Sen. President Donald Williams speak with the media

Cafero said it was such a productive meeting that they’ve planned to meet again on Friday and have saved time to meet again on Monday, March 11 — the same day the National Rifle Association and a handful of Connecticut gun groups are encouraging gun owners to come to the Capitol to lobby their lawmakers.

Asked if he thought Republican lawmakers really had a seat at the table with Democratic legislative leaders, who don’t need the minority’s support to pass legislation, Cafero said he did.

“If we felt this was all for show, not for go, I don’t think we’d be here,” Cafero said.

Cafero said they promised not to comment on particular aspects of the legislation, which left them with little to share except for some cliches about how productive the meetings have been.

Senate Republican Leader John McKinney said there’s areas of the package they haven’t even touched yet, so there’s still a lot of work to do. He said they want to make sure they have all the issues down so that when it comes to drafting the actual language things go as planned.

When it comes to the expanding the state’s assault weapons ban, the drafting of the language could make or break any tentative deal the two sides may have made during negotiations.

“We’re spending most of our time on gun-related issues,” Williams said.

The subcommittees on school security and mental health were able to give leaders consensus recommendations, but the gun subcommittee submitted Democratic and Republican proposals.

Sharkey said they’re committed to reaching an agreement as quickly as possible and both parties say they would like to hold some type of public forum on the final piece of legislation prior to a vote.

If they could get it done next week, or even the following week, then they will feel like they’ve reached their goal.

But the groups applying pressure on each side of the gun issue are ramping up their efforts to sway as many lawmakers as possible. On Thursday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation began an advertising campaign, and gun control proponents are expected to have their own advertising campaign out soon.

“It’s such an emotional issue,” Cafero said Thursday.

It’s also not necessarily a partisan issue. In 1993, when Connecticut passed its first assault weapons ban, there were several Democratic lawmakers who voted against the bill that first year, including now-Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who hails from the eastern part of the state.

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(9) Comments

posted by: redlady | March 8, 2013  9:57am

Since I hail from the eastern part of the state, it should be known that most of us over here recognize that our freedoms are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and the State Constitution, something Nancy seems willing to betray in exchange for another campaign message.

We must start acting as the employer and send these incompetent lawmakers to unemployment lines. Otherwise, we will be forced to move to another state where we don’t have to fear our state government and can focus on restoring our federal government.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | March 8, 2013  10:23am

As I wrote yesterday on the first story, if the republicans were smart, no one of them would cast a vote in favor of one anti second amendment bill. They would let the democrats own this. But after listening to Cafero on Vicevich’s show yesterday, the republicans are done. They have no redeeming value to get one more vote from me. I will be sitting home next election Bill and Kevin and I will am looking to take my pension and other funds to a more friendly state. The Constipation state can go down the toilet like Michigan.

posted by: redlady | March 8, 2013  11:10am

Chien, too bad the GOPers don’t come here and read the posts. They would have a better understanding of how their voting base is becoming more and more alarmed by this kind of compromising. While many of us are looking for a way out, they keep making the same crazy mistakes over and over and over….it’s a nightmare!

posted by: sparkplug | March 8, 2013  12:13pm

>>
if the republicans were smart, no one of them would cast a vote in favor of one anti second amendment bill.
<<

It’s really hard to know what’s going on behind the scenes. The Republicans may very well be preventing a huge onslaught of totally ridiculous legislation that might otherwise get pushed through without some sort of “consensus”. But sides gain by compromising: the Democrats can avoid voting on career-ending legislation being pushed by the far left (like a total ban on all semi-autos) while still appearing to be staunch anti-gun advocates. And Republicans can take credit for preventing the nuclear option form being employed. I could be totally wrong but perhaps something like this is going on behind the scenes.

posted by: ASTANVET | March 8, 2013  12:54pm

why why why is it that important legislation is always conducted behind closed doors - never out in the open for the public to see who is proposing what.  I would not have ANY of these members participate in secret meetings.  They come to an agreement without the consent of the governed.  Sounds great.  Bunch of bafoons.  Whether you are right or left of this position, you should at least want to know what your representatives are doing.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | March 8, 2013  6:24pm

Sparkplug-
When has it put the republican party in postive light? How is that working in Washington? I keep having reflections of the story “Faust.” Does anything good come from making a bargain with the devil?

The Connecticut gun owners have been getting bent over and taking all the abuse for years. They have played by the laws and the democrats want to move the goal posts again. Wouldn’t you like to see a republican party with a pair of balls? I would. I am tired that it is always the republicans who have to cave. If you don’t stand for the Constitution you might as well not stand! Semper Fi!

posted by: sparkplug | March 8, 2013  9:34pm

You misunderstand Chien. I wasn’t defending Republican leadership. I was pointing out how politics is played. Like it or not politics is about getting in power and staying in power. If dancing with the devil means staying in power then start up the band baby. That’s the mind set we’re dealing with here. But even if our Republicans legislators were all Ron Paul clones, what good would it do if they all fell on their swords for the sake of principle? Nothing, other than the fact that we’d all be disarmed more quickly. And you’re suggesting that’s preferrable? Even Ron Paul was willing to work with Democrats when it was mutually beneficial to do so (Dennis Kucinech comes to mind).

posted by: Chien DeBerger | March 9, 2013  5:16pm

So further restrictions on Article 1 Section 15 of the State Constitution is beneficial? You can have your bi-partisanship, I will pass.

posted by: sparkplug | March 10, 2013  1:37pm

Well Chien we get the government we deserve.