Session Enters Final Day

The legislative session is entering its final day today. Expect the usual bonanza of last-minute bills. The House comes back into session at noon today after adjourning very late last night. The governor is not expected to give the traditional end-of-session speech, due to the fact that there is no budget agreement in place (and there is unlikely to be one today).

Yesterday’s highlights:

  • The U.S. Senate vacancy bill, which would provide for a special election in the case of a U.S. Senate vacancy instead of a gubernatorial appointment, is headed for the governor’s desk. Expect her to veto it. An override may be possible, however.
  • There was no action on paid sick days, as the Senate is currently deadlocked at 18 votes for each side.
  • It’s still legal to have an open container of alcohol in your car, apparently.
  • The national popular vote bill will not get a vote in the Senate.
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30 responses to “Session Enters Final Day

  1. CTcentrist

    Did anyone imagine that a super majority would squander its opportunity to make wholesale, positive changes for Connecticut so badly? Both Donovan and Williams have lost points for their performance. There lame “blame game” tactics with regard to the budget are so hopelessly shallow. Maybe some Democrat(s) will get off the bench and step-up to try and lead. For the state’s sake, I hope that happens.

  2. Thank you to whoever killed the unconstitutional popular vote bill. And someone please ask Crusher’s successor to read the Constitution.

  3. Did anyone imagine that a super majority would squander its opportunity to make wholesale, positive changes for Connecticut so badly? Both Donovan and Williams have lost points for their performance. There lame “blame game” tactics with regard to the budget are so hopelessly shallow. Maybe some Democrat(s) will get off the bench and step-up to try and lead. For the state’s sake, I hope that happens.

    Yes. It was as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Williams and Donovan define incompetence.

  4. Thank you to whoever killed the unconstitutional popular vote bill. And someone please ask Crusher’s successor to read the Constitution.

    I’m not a fan of that bill myself, however I don’t believe it is unconstitutional. The states are explicitly allowed to divide its electoral votes based on however they choose.

    I think the president should be chosen by popular vote, but the whole country should just do it at once, IMHO.

  5. I think the president should be chosen by popular vote, but the whole country should just do it at once, IMHO.

    The cities have too much influence in elections now; that would exacerbate that problem.

    Rural and suburban Americans tend to lead daily lives that are remarkably different than those of city dwellers.
    No one in Wyoming jumps the subway on the way to work for example; and one would suspect that there are few radio stations reporting traffic conditions from an airplane or helicopter.

    This dycodemy in lifestyle creates entirely different perceptions as to just what is important and what isn’t.
    Those that are convinced we simply don’t need to be driving around in 3/4 ton pickup trucks have never NEEDED one for example.

    This site: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/ has elections maps by state & county; the difference is rather startling.

  6. Mr. Reality

    The Dairy Farmers were bailed out yesterday in the Senate. Oh wait that’s a Governor’s initiative you wouldn’t want to do that.

  7. AndersonScooper

    ACR–

    In terms of elecorak college reform, I agree with you. “One man, one vote”, is just a quaint notion. (Just like habeus corpus).

    If Wyoming gets 3 electoral vote per 500,000 inhabitants, while Connecticut gets just 1 per 500,000 — that’s absolutely what Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin wanted.
    And I like the current system whereby all of Blue state CT’s GOP votes for President simply don’t matter. It’s a system that shouldn’t be touched.

  8. Scooper.
    Re: Electoral College, Constitution, etc.

    The whole thing was designed by people clearly brighter than we are; *and* accounts for changes to be made.

    This would amount to an end run.

    A little intellectual integrity at least once in a while would be refreshing.

  9. Joe Sixpack

    Well, at least my pet chimp can still drink a roadie beer in my car. And he can move to Iowa and still be our Senator. So all is well.

  10. Mr. Reality

    Good point Joe…and if your chimp registers as a Democrat it can run for office, forge signatures, not follow campaign finance laws and even leave a woman for dead and nothing will happen to him.

  11. CT Citizen

    I see that the Republican talking points are being used again. First suggest that the Democratic Majority should use it’s supermajority to impose thier will, then deride the effectiveness of leadership for refusing to as they seek a consensus with the Governor.

    Hence, allowing citizens a vote to fill a Senate Vacancy is a “power grab” (grabbing power for the people?) but seeking consensus on the budget is incompetence.

    Why not be honest? The budget problem is a big one and citizens want both sides at the table working to find a solution. We don’t want rhetoric.

    The truth is the Governor and the legislature’s spending plans are remarkably similar in dollar amount. In fact the Legislature’s appropriations plan is LOWER than the Governor’s February spending plan. The Governor’s recent spending cuts INCLUDE reductions from the Approps plan, and as we learned today in the Courant, savings from the legislature’s DSS audit.

    The differences lie on the revenue side. It’s undeniably true that the Democrats have offered tax increases to offset the Governor’s fee increases AND the gaping hole in her budget proposal. Recently the Governor suggested filling a tiny percentage of the hole with 10 year’s of Keno profits sold at a bargain rate to some smart business. What else can we sell? How will she fill the rest of the deficit? We’re still waiting for those answers.

    I’m sure someone will attack this post with name calling. But let me first suggest that a civil debate, even when we strongly disagree, would be better.

  12. Never mind that the legislature is supposed to present a budget, right?

    That they’ve refused to do their job is somehow the Governors’ fault?

    For a group so intent on a budget they’ve certainly spent a lot of time on;

    5 cent bags
    a death penalty that never gets imposed anyway
    open beer cans in cars
    monkeying around with the Electoral College
    McDonald’s menus for calorie counters
    some weird socialized medicine scheme
    smoking in casinos
    call for special election for a US senate vacancy but ignore other offices

    Please spare us the hand wringing.

  13. scanman1722

    I see that the Republican talking points are being used again.

    That’s all that this is. Williams, Donovan, and the rest of the caucus have been willing to work with the token opposition throughout. If you don’t like being a useless, ineffective cluster in the legislature, come up with some new policies and win an election or two and do something about it. It’s not the Democrats fault we have a supermajority – it’s your party’s fault for sucking.

    Queen Jodi, as this process has shown, lives in a fantasyland. She is willing to come up with anything to solve this crisis other than legit solutions to our problems. Keno? Give me a break. How can you pretend you’re willing to negotiate when you refuse to even meet with the leaders of the House and state Senate? That sends one message and one message alone: my way or the highway.

    The usual chorus of “this is all Don Williams fault, Chris Donovan is an idiot, the Democrats want to soak the rich and end the CT economy as we know it” is gonna be flowing like there is no tomorrow around here. Just ignore it, CT citizen…..

  14. Citizen / scanman …

    Nice that you see fit to start off pissing and moaning about Republican talking points before falling back on the tiredest of Democrat talking points …

    But, OK, I’ll play.

    Williams and Donovan lead the legislature. It’s the legislature’s job to pass a budget. They said Rell’s budget sucked. They said their’s was better. They failed to bring their budget to a vote because they knew it WASN’T better and — more to the point, from their perspective — knew it was doomed to be another embarassing flop. They could do anything they want if they had the political muscle, the brains and the balls. They lack all three.

    They can’t get their own members to vote for their own budget. Yet they still think people WANT $3.3 billion in taxes.

    And you think Rell lives in a fantasy land?

    So, in desperation, Pornstachio & Speaker Union Label pull out the last tired hanky from their threadbare sleeve: “Waaaaah! The mean old governor won’t meet with us one on one!”

    Everybody knows that the high-level meetings never start until the budget is all but done and only horsetrading remains. This is a ploy — and a pathetic one at that — by two maladepts who are totally out of their depth.

  15. Weicker Liker

    Both Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for the budget mess in Hartford.

    No one seems to want to lead. No one seems to have interest in taking charge.

    ACR gets it right that the General Assembly is voting on bills that should not have the upmost priority as the Session winds down.

  16. scanman1722

    ACR gets it right that the General Assembly is voting on bills that should not have the upmost priority as the Session winds down.

    Why not? The legislature is there to pass laws, not just a budget. Those bills are important to people and, while perhaps not as important as making sure the state has enough cash to keep running, still deserve the proper time and consideration.

    Perhaps we need to discuss having a full-time legislature. This last minute legislative blitzkrieg seems to happen every year and it can’t be too good democracy wise considering everything gets rushed and not enough time is spent on each debate.

  17. Weicker Liker

    Come On Scanman…

    The Legislsture has been in session since January. Enough time for your “important” bills to be passed and debated.

    Is not like the House/Senate is in session every day.

    With a week to go, the State Budget should be the priority.

  18. scanman1722

    The Legislsture has been in session since January. Enough time for your “important” bills to be passed and debated.

    Six months is not a lot of time when you think about the hundreds of bills that are drafted and put forward each year and then that have to go through committee meetings, hearings, floor debates, etc.

  19. Six months is not a lot of time

    They do enough damage now, no need to encourage them.

    Revenues continue to fall on things such as Diesel fuel yet no reversal has been even offered, costing our retailers business, our citizens jobs, and our state much needed taxes.
    With a range of 1800 – 2400 miles why would anyone fill their tanks here when New Jersey is so much less expensive?

    Instead they dream up *new* taxes that won’t achieve the desired result either. But will cost more retailers business and more of our citizens their jobs.

    While this is going on we have a legislature working feverishly on a 5 cents per-bag bill and an Atty General coming up with some well intentioned “no more crazy monkeys” bill that puts the Comerford Farm in Goshen (Elephants) out of business without even meaning to.

    CT-N more closely resembles a sitcom than C-Span almost everyday.

  20. That’s all that this is. Williams, Donovan, and the rest of the caucus have been willing to work with the token opposition throughout. If you don’t like being a useless, ineffective cluster in the legislature, come up with some new policies and win an election or two and do something about it. It’s not the Democrats fault we have a supermajority – it’s your party’s fault for sucking.

    Bit confused here – if you’ve got a working supermajority then what’s there to debate? Pass your legislation and go home. I suspect the Democrats in Hartford aren’t all on the same page here or else they wouldn’t need to discuss anything with the Governor.

    And yes, thank you, I’m aware that winning elections is how representatives are elected. However, I would point out that it is “the Democrats fault” for having a supermajority as they presumable ran for office and won…

  21. That’s all that this is. Williams, Donovan, and the rest of the caucus have been willing to work with the token opposition throughout. If you don’t like being a useless, ineffective cluster in the legislature, come up with some new policies and win an election or two and do something about it. It’s not the Democrats fault we have a supermajority – it’s your party’s fault for sucking.

    Bit confused here – if you’ve got a working supermajority then what’s there to debate? Pass your legislation and go home. I suspect the Democrats in Hartford aren’t all on the same page here or else they wouldn’t need to discuss anything with the Governor.

    And yes, thank you, I’m aware that winning elections is how representatives are elected. However, I would point out that it is “the Democrats fault” for having a supermajority as they presumably ran for office and won…

  22. Six months is not a lot of time when you think about the hundreds of bills that are drafted and put forward each year and then that have to go through committee meetings, hearings, floor debates, etc.

    Therein lies a major problem. Donovan & Williams (and their GOP counterparts) should tell their caucuses that they will be limited X bills each session, say 5 bills.

    As a result, legislators would have to start prioritizing… and the body politik would likely spend less time on naming state cookies or banning soda in schools (a BOE issue)… and more time dealing with the budget.

    I understand that other legislatures do this. To a certain extent, it’s arguably undemocratic. But the Gang of 187 is clearly out of control on the number of bills they introduce… all of which consume staff time… driving up the cost of gov’t… and for no good policy reason.

  23. As well, I can only imagine how much time is wasted by the Gang of 187 (and their staff) as they jockey for a share of the Donovan / Rell / Williams annual $36,000,000 slush fund.

  24. CT Citizen

    First, allow me to say something nice about ACR…even though I disagree with him, he didn’t resort to namecalling when he replied to my previous post. Hooray for the blogs! A civil conversation is possible….at least until Red Five decides to contribute.

    That said, I find it curious that rightwing bloggers feel informed about the intent behind legislative leaders actions.

    They failed to bring their budget to a vote because they knew it WASN’T better and — more to the point, from their perspective — knew it was doomed to be another embarassing flop. They could do anything they want if they had the political muscle, the brains and the balls. They lack all three.

    Here’s a thought. Don’t guess at the intent or motives of those you hold in comtempt. It’s not credible.

    Williams and Donovan have the votes to pass a budget. Not surprisingly, they don’t likely have 24 votes in the Senate, and maybe not 101 in the House. The Dems have earned victories in every part of the state. They are not all on the same page because their districts are diverse. Trying to parlay these facts into some fiction about an out-of-control supermajority, or weakness of leadership is silly.

    The Dems haven’t run a budget becasue it would be counterproductive. The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a budget plan. And they will, eventually. Williams and Donovan have acted to encourage this resolution by inviting the Governor herself to negotiate and agreement. Petulance will not resolve this issue.

    Why isn’t the Governor in the room?

  25. Williams and Donovan have the votes to pass a budget….some fiction about an out-of-control supermajority, or weakness of leadership is silly.

    Fiction?

    What alternative universe do you reside in?

    These guys had five MONTHS to put together a budget, which is their primary responsibility for this year’s session.

    Complete failure.

    Teachers wouldn’t just fail someone if that was their classwork, they’d call their parents and have them tossed out of school for a total lack of effort.

    What is pure fiction is the phrase: “The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a budget plan”

    Most posters here know that the Democrat majority can do anything it wants and override any veto. No input or agreement needed from the governor.

  26. Citizen:

    “The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a budget plan”

    Very droll. Here are some more witticisms:

    “The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a bill that pools all of Donovan’s union buddies into the state health plan.”

    “The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a bill that strips the Governor of the power to fill a US Senate vacancy.”

    “The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a bill to save Juan Figueroa’s job and enact socialized medicine in Connecticut, but with a catchy name.”

    “The Governor and the Dems MUST AGREE on a bill to get rid of the death penalty.”

    All of these statements are as amusing — and valid — as your defense of the abject failure by TweedleDumb and TweedleDumber.

    And yes — I hold them in contempt, utterly. They’ve earned every scathing ounce of it. Williams’s oily sanctimony and Donovan’s idiot-savant pursuit of his union masters’s agenda are nothing less than repugnant.

  27. I’ve been at the Capitol for about an hour now.

    I passed 3 open parking spaces next to the capitol before picking one to park in. THere are few lobbyists here. Things are moving slowly. Apprently the Senate has only debated and voted one bill so far (just reconvened a minute ago) and rumor has it there’s in-fighting within the Democrat party on the Senate side. But no one knows what about….

    The House has only passed 2 bills in the past hour but mainly seem to be at ease and not in any hurry… we’ll see what happens an hour from now.

  28. CT Citizen

    El Kabong – I’ll bet you a lifetime of civil postings on blogs that the Governor and Legislative Leaders will agree on a budget.

  29. What the Founding Fathers said in the U.S. Constitution about how electors should be awarded is: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

    Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, that the voters may vote and the winner-take-all rule) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.

    In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, it was necessary to own a substantial amount of property in order to vote.

    In 1789 only three states used the winner-take-all rule.

    There is no valid argument that the winner-take-all rule is entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all rule.

    As a result of changes in state laws, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the winner-take-all rule is used by 48 of the 50 states.

    The normal process of effecting change in the method of electing the President is specified in the U.S. Constitution, namely action by the state legislatures. This is how the current system was created, and this is the built-in method that the Constitution provides for making changes.

  30. A survey of 797 Connecticut voters conducted April 19-20, 2008 showed 73%-27% support for a national popular vote for President.

    By party, support for a national popular vote for President is 80%-20% among Democratic voters; 59%-41% among Republicans, and 76%-24% for Others.

    By age, support is 76%-24% among 18-29 year olds; 67%-33% among 30-45 year olds; 72%-28% among 46-65 year olds; and 78%-22% among 65-and-older.

    By gender, support is 81%-19% among women and 64%-36% among men.

    By race, support is 73%-27% among whites, 71%-29% among African-Americans, 79%-21% among Hispanics, and 66%-34% among Others.

    see http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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