MIDNIGHT ADDRESS FROM MALLOY
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to close out the legislative session for the last time. The two-term Democrat, who is not seeking re-election, is scheduled to address a joint session of the General Assembly at shortly after midnight, early Thursday morning. Lawmakers still have a host of bills to vote on before the deadline, including a revised state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Democratic and Republican legislative leaders announced late Wednesday afternoon they have reached a bipartisan agreement changes to the second year of the two-year, $41.3 billion budget. Malloy will likely focus his midnight address on his tenure as governor, which has been marked by state budget challenges. While he’s had some clashes with lawmakers, Democrats credit Malloy with making lasting fiscal changes.
BUDGET AGREEMENT REACHED
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut lawmakers say they’ve reached a bipartisan budget agreement and plan to vote before the legislative session adjourns. The General Assembly faces a midnight deadline Wednesday. Democratic and Republican legislative leaders made the announcement to a crowd of onlookers and reporters outside the hall of the House of Representatives. While details are not yet available, lawmakers say they’ve agreed to replenish some of the cuts made in the second year of the two-year $41.3 billion bipartisan budget they approved last year. Some state aid is restored for cities and towns. A program that helps needy seniors cover Medicare costs is funded. Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano says it’s “another monumental step” to have reached another bipartisan deal. Lawmakers say they’re hopeful Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sign it.
CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS PASSES LEGISLATURE
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Legislation adding a $12 annual surcharge on insurance policies of every Connecticut residential homeowner to help those homeowners with crumbling foundations is moving to the governor’s desk. The state Senate on Wednesday, the final day of the legislative session, voted 19-17 in favor of the bill. Republican Sen. Tony Guglielmo of Stafford Springs, a 26-year-veteran of the General Assembly, says the legislation is the most important bill he has ever sought for his district. He says families are struggling to cover the $100,000 to $200,000 cost of replacing a concrete foundation. Opponents questioned why other entities, including the federal government aren’t helping to cover the cost. The fee is projected to generate $10 million annually over the next 10 years. The foundations are failing due to an iron sulfide.
BILL TO KILL GUN RANGE IS KILLED
A measure that would’ve shot down a planned state police gun range in Griswold fails by one vote in the state senate. The vote took place last Wednesday, with Democratic Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman casting the deciding vote. All Senate Republicans voted for the bill, all Democrats against, including Sprague Senator Cathy Osten, and Killingly senator Mae Flexer. The bill would’ve made the Lee Road site a part of the Pachaug State Forest. A purchase agreement has been signed by the state with the intent to put the gun range there.
SUPERINTENDENT IS SUPER
Norwich school superintendent Abby Dolliver is doing a great job, according to the city’s school board. Its annual evaluation of the superintendent says Dolliver is showing great leadership in implementing the school’s District Improvement Plan, and in managing school staff. She was also given high marks for establishing a high standard of ethics within the schools, and for communicating well with the press and public. A possible contract extension and salary for Dolliver will be discussed at the board’s June 12th meeting. She currently earns more than 171-thousand dollars a year.
WAGE INCREASE NOT HAPPENING
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – It appears unlikely lawmakers will vote to increase the state’s minimum wage, despite a strongly worded letter from the leader of Connecticut’s largest labor organization. Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says there doesn’t appear to be enough time or support to pass the legislation before Wednesday’s midnight adjournment. Lawmakers originally proposed increasing the $10.10 an hour wage to $15 by 2021. Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, sent the four Democratic legislative leaders a letter on May 3, saying the minimum wage and three other bills “need to be acted on so they DO NOT become victims to sine die,” referring to session’s end. She said if the bills aren’t called, the AFL-CIO’s legislative scorecard for each lawmaker – which shows how they vote – could be affected.
ASSAULT KIT TRACKING APPROVED
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut lawmakers have passed legislation that requires the continued tracking of sexual assault evidence collection kits. The bill cleared the House of Representatives Wednesday unanimously. It previously passed the Senate. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to sign the legislation, which puts in state law some practices his administration has taken in recent years. The bill also compels health care facilities that collect sexual assault evidence to contact a counselor when a victim arrives. Connecticut enacted legislation in 2015 that required rape kits be sent to the state crime lab within 10 days of collection and tested within 60 days, as part of an effort to reduce a backlog. Republican Rep. J.P. Sredzinski of Monroe says this latest bill marks “a very good attempt” to further address the problem.