This is a crazy system.
Anyway, here are some highlights:
The fix approved Wednesday would allow public financing for campaigns to be frozen only if the campaign finance law is challenged and a temporary injunction of a week or more is issued by a judge after April 15. Further, the public financing system would be frozen only until Dec. 1 of the same year.
Under the new agreement, candidates in primary races would not be allowed to accept in-kind contributions from PACs. The agreement also sets a $10,000 per-PAC limit in Senate races and a $3,500 limit in House races. The new rules also make it easier for minor-party candidates to obtain public financing, but do not completely level the field, lawmakers said. (Keating)
I'm going to take a look at the actual bill and see if it really is easier for third party candidates, but the compromises here are not bad. The law seems strengthened.
I'm glad they got it done, but why did it have to happen at the very last second? That makes no sense. The legislature spent a lot of the day passing odd bills like one that allows the governor to lower the U.S. flag to half staff, or an attempt to get someone who turned in a lottery ticket three days late to get his money (highlights here). They also ate up time toasting retiring members. Other big issues like eminent domain and gasoline "zone" pricing were left undone.
Still, it was mostly an effective short session. The budget "adjustment" moved us forward on transportation, and that's a good thing. It's almost certain that more would have been done without the Zarella scandal clogging up the works.
There may yet be a special session or two, but there isn't the urgency of last year. Now lawmakers can return to their districts with whatever records they have, and concentrate on the upcoming elections.
Keating, Christopher and Elizabeth Hamilton. "A Deal At Last." Hartford Courant 4 May, 2006.