Legislative assembly

Connecticut legislative session nears adjournment – NBC Connecticut

Bills dealing with juvenile crime, amending the state’s new recreational marijuana law and making Juneteenth a holiday were among those advanced Wednesday in the final hours of Connecticut’s 2022 legislative session.

While hundreds of bills were expected to die on the vine, as usual, many of the key bills from the three-month session have already passed the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

The list includes one of the first abortion-related bills to pass in years. It expands the types of abortion providers and attempts to shield Connecticut providers from the reach of other state laws that ban most abortions.

Lawmakers also voted mostly by party to revise the one-year, $24.2 billion state budget that contains about $600 million in tax cuts and increased state spending to a major mental health initiative and social service programs — all thanks to the best state budget numbers in decades. .

Connecticut is expected to end the fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of $4.8 billion. Year two revisions to the biennial budget passed last year include about $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds.

“We have lamented our inability to meet these needs for the past 10 to 15 years since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, said Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven. “Now we’re keeping a promise that we regretted we couldn’t keep at the time.”

While Republicans have supported many initiatives passed this year, including mental health bills inspired in part by the psychological fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, they have accused the majority of Democrats of wasting that unique financial opportunity to make systemic changes to Connecticut taxation. system – as well as spend too much. It’s a charge that will likely come up in this year’s legislative and gubernatorial campaigns.

“Connecticut Democrats have overtaxed our families and their immediate reaction is to overspend and develop an unaffordable government, not to provide the level of relief Connecticut families are now asking for,” the Senate Minority Leader said. , Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford.

Lawmakers faced a midnight adjournment deadline. While governors traditionally address a joint session of the General Assembly once the final hammer has struck, Lamont waived an appearance this year.

House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said some lawmakers were concerned about the number of people gathered in the lobby of the House of Representatives as the number of COVID-19 infections in the state rose. . He said it was “perhaps a tradition that time has come and gone”.