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Tick Tock, Tick Tock

by Christine Stuart | May 7, 2014 5:30am
(12) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: State Budget, Special Session, Taxes, State Capitol

CTNJ file photo Connecticut lawmakers tried their best Tuesday to clear the calendar as they raced toward Wednesday’s midnight deadline, but not everything was going as planned.

Down from an early estimate of more than 1,200 pages to around 300, the bill to implement $18.9 billion in state spending was not completed late Tuesday and lawmakers were struggling with technology in both chambers. They were able to pass a $953 million bonding package that includes millions of dollars for roads and schools.

Several Capitol sources doubted that they would be able to get all the work done and still take what was expected to be a four-hour break Wednesday to pay tribute to retiring Senate President Donald Williams and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney.

But Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, begged to differ. He said the House can start the debate on the implementer bill Wednesday while the Senate pays tribute to its outgoing members.

However, what will still be in the implementer and what won’t remains a mystery to lawmakers and lobbyists. Legislative leaders were behind closed-doors in House Speaker Brendan Sharkey’s office early Wednesday morning working out the details.

Would Sharkey’s reverse PILOT bill be passed by the Senate? Would the Senate water it down as retribution for Sharkey’s decision to kill a bill banning genetically modified grass earlier in the session?

What about medical foundations and hospital conversions? Would those be separate bills or will legislators try to include them in the implementer? And is there enough time to debate it all?

Lobbyists began to wonder late Tuesday if a special session would be necessary to finish everything lawmakers had been unable to get done. A special session in an election year, with state party conventions just a week away, would be inconvenient for those who would like to leave governing behind to hit the campaign trail.

“It’s always an issue in the short session,” Looney said. “We try to do the same amount of work in a shorter period of time.”

He said it’s inevitable that a large number of votes get taken at the end.

But there’s generally a larger cushion of time and there isn’t always tension between the House and the Senate caucuses, which are each controlled by the Democratic Party.

Williams declined to say what would happen to Sharkey’s reverse PILOT bill Wednesday morning, but remained confident that the details of the implementer would be fine tuned enough for both chambers to take up the bill.

But in order for that to happen, Republicans in the minority will need to cooperate. As with any legislative session, the minority party holds the power of the filibuster over the majority throughout the final few days and hours.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero was waiting to see what happened with negotiations before making a prediction on how things will go Wednesday.

“It all depends on the language,” said Cafero, who is one of more than a dozen House members retiring after this year.

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(12) Comments

posted by: Lawrence | May 7, 2014  8:08am

Look at the vote tally board in the background of the accompanying photo.

One-party rule in Connecticut? It’s unanimous!

So much for that phony GOP talking point…

posted by: Stan Muzyk | May 7, 2014  10:26am

@Lawrence:  As usual—you are politically incorrect as a captive vocal Democrat.  You hold Malloyism as blameless for the fiscal demise of our once great state.  No cigar for you.

posted by: art vandelay | May 7, 2014  10:44am

art vandelay

@Lawrence,
The board could have been idle with no recorded vote at the time the picture was taken.  Yes I agree on minor bills Republicans DO vote w/Democrats.  When it comes to budget or fiscal matters, it’s still One Party Rule.  Remember the GOP is locked completely out of the budget process.  Your argument holds NO WATER!

posted by: art vandelay | May 7, 2014  10:46am

art vandelay

@Lawrence,
If there were a vote in progress, Sharkey would be at the podium & Cafero would be at his seat with voting button in hand not talking w/each other.

posted by: Greg | May 7, 2014  2:06pm

Yes, it’s the minority Republican’s fault for the deficit in a 4 year term of one-party rule.  Indeed. That makes sense.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 7, 2014  3:27pm

The Dems can say its the Republicans fault because it works to say that.

If their base was asked who ran the legislature for the last 4 years? 8 years? They wouldnt even know who was in charge and wouldnt care because many, but not all of them, are really not following politics. Thats why they’re Democrats.

posted by: dano860 | May 7, 2014  11:00pm

Here is how an outsider sees the problem we have and how an insider at least understands the problem.

posted by: Lawrence | May 8, 2014  8:55am

Your ignorance of even the most basic mechanisms of Connecticut democracy is stunning, laughable and frightening.

posted by: art vandelay | May 8, 2014  4:34pm

art vandelay

@Lawrence,
I believe the point JBJ is attempting to illuminate is that the Dems rely on their low information quick to forget voting base.  If the low information crowd actually followed and understood what the Democrats are doing to this state, they wouldn’t be Democrats.  Low Information Voters have an excuse; they can’t help themselves, I can’t say the same for informed voters.

posted by: Lawrence | May 8, 2014  7:08pm

Art, I’ll try and keep this super short because I’m very busy.

The vote tally board only lights up when legislators vote. White means not voting, green is yes, red is no. The board reflects one of the many unanimous and bipartisan votes that the House took this session. It is BS that Republicans are “frozen out” of the lawmaking process and that there is “one party rule” in CT. The vote tally board proves it, as does the implementer bill, which the GOP held up for days to get their goodies inserted into, and which they then all voted against. Cynical, two-faced politicians, all of them who did that.

Neither Sharkey nor A-Z needs to be in the chair to conduct business; they can appoint an interim, such as Bob Godfrey. Anyone who thinks the business of the House can only be conducted with a leader in the chair is an idiot.

“Low-information voters” describes so many GOP voters it is not funny, including—apparently—you. The amount of GOP self-delusion in CT is enormous.

posted by: art vandelay | May 8, 2014  10:14pm

art vandelay

@Lawrence,
I agree, Republicans are not shut out of the “Legislative” process.  Bills like how many brown M&M’s can be sold in a box certainly get Republican input.  When it comes to the budget or taxes, Democrats are in FULL control.  Yes Lawrence Republicans are “Frozen Out” when it comes to matters of importance.  The names in “Green” in the picture was probably the vote the legislature took on the number of brown M&M’s.  It certainly wasn’t on a tax related piece of legislation.  I realize the Speaker does not have to be at the podium 100% of the time, so don’t stoop to name calling.  Finally, I will agree that the GOP has its share of “Low Information Voters”.  However the vast majority of them reside in the enclaves where Democrats outnumber Republicans 95-5.

posted by: Doug Hardy | May 8, 2014  10:26pm

CTNewsJunkie’s comment policy is here for your reading. We delete comments that violate the policy and have done so here on this thread several times.

FYI, I would agree that in the big scheme of things, “low information voter” is a fairly bland term. But nevertheless it is offensive when applied to people, as it has been here, often. Don’t use it. If you feel the need to complain about other voters, this is not the place to do that.