Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Last Minute Rush

The short legislative session wraps up tonight at midnight, and there's a lot that's been left undone:
With mandatory adjournment at midnight tonight, time is growing short for resolution on issues such as campaign finance reform, eminent domain, electricity prices, the "zone pricing" of gasoline and Hartford's property revaluation.

The main reason for the lack of action on many issues is a sharp division within the Democratic and Republican caucuses, which could result in debates that last hours as lawmakers run out of precious time. Under the legislature's rules, bills that are not acted upon by midnight will die on the calendar. (Keating)

If there's a better argument for longer sessions, I don't know what it is. The General Assembly has a lot of important business to cram into a few hours, and none of these bills will get the kind of lengthy consideration they deserve.

Some things are going to be left undone. I hope campaign finance reform isn't one of them. It's important that CFR be as good as we can make it before it goes into effect after the November elections. I'd also like to see them take up eminent domain, but I'm not holding my breath.

The sharp-eyed should also be on the lookout tonight for stealth bills, such as one that would have exempted legislators' email from FOI laws which was passed last year and a last minute income tax passed in the early 1970s, to fly through at the last second.


Keating, Christopher and Elizabeth Hamilton. "Little Action On Big Issues." Hartford Courant 3 May, 2006.


MikeCT said...

Please contact your legislator today to ask them to make fixes in CT's campaign finance law.

TSCowperthwait said...

It is disappointing that the legislature cannot get its act together. The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision concerning eminent domain last year and the GA still has not come to an agreement about how to protect private property owners from future eminent domain acts. Once again our representatives have let us down on an important issue.

ctkeith said...

The Supeme Court Decision invited State legislatures to enact laws concerning Eminant Domain but didn't make it mandatory.

There really was no pressure from any quarter to pass anything on this subject.

disgruntled_republican said...


While that is true, the CGA and in particular the Speaker made in perfectly clear something was coming. Let us not forget the outrage he had when the decision came was a pretty harshly worded stand.

TSCowperthwait said...

I never said that it was mandatory or that there was any pressure to pass anything on the subject. I find it disappointing, however, that the legislature has spent a considerable amount of time on this subject and cannot come to an agreement. It is a serious issue, and not the only serious issue the legislature has not been able to come to a consensus about this term.

Wrath of Conn said...

I'm a delegate to this year's Democratic convention. I've been researching the candidates for Governor, because I realized I don't know nearly enough to make an informed vote.

My search turned up this Paul Bass article from the Fairfield Weekly, way back in 2002 during the final days of the Curry campaign. I was really bothered by this section about a rally held in New Haven for John Rowland. Does anyone from that area remember this?

It reads:

Just a week earlier, DeStefano hosted an anemic evening "rally" for Curry. One hundred or so party functionaries slumped on chairs for a series of low-energy speeches at a local middle school.

This afternoon, DeStefano has brought out a high school band. He has packed Hillhouse High School with hundreds of people to cheer Rowland for the state's help in building a 105,000-square-foot field house and athletic complex. Rowland gets five times the crowd of last week's Curry event--and 20 times the energy.

This was DeStefano's idea. He took Rowland to lunch a week earlier. He invited him to visit the field house for a public thank-you--just weeks before the election.

Usually, the two poke at each other in public like schoolboys from competing cliques. Today, Rowland soaks in the royal treatment offered by a mayor whose administration, apparently convinced Curry's campaign is dead, worries about keeping the state money spigot open after November. New Haven will still vote for Curry. But don't expect any wildfires.

Suddenly, even New Haven is a Rowland DMZ.

Like a pep rally captain, DeStefano yells to the packed crowd of students, teachers and politicos about the $1.1 billion in school construction that Rowland's administration has backed in New Haven. The crowd yells back.

"We had a state administration that supported our vision for our kids!" DeStefano exclaims.

Then he picks up a theme from last night's debate--one of Rowland's themes. He says he took his son to UConn this fall for his freshman year. "It's a changed campus" from DeStefano's own undergraduate days, the mayor says. All thanks to the money Rowland is investing in education.

Rowland sweeps to the mike like the homecoming king, basking in the adulation.

"Mayor, thank you for that warm endorsement. ... I mean kind words," he quips. Everyone understands.

bluecoat said...

The United States Supreme Court, like the CT State Supreme Court, upheld CT State law and eminent domain practices in Kelo v. New London based on arguments by the CT Attorney General and others. I don't like the state's use of eminent domain to fund the local pols' "corporate welfare" programs but most of the legislators do just as the governor does eventhough they say they don't. Watch what they do not what they say -it's all a head fake.

disgruntled_republican said...

On the subject of eminent domain, many municipalities have passed ordinances on the subject...guess they realize the state would miss the boat.

KerryGuy said...

Regarding eminent domain - the quarter that is pressuring for this is homeowners and the general public. No special interest group outside of some DC group. The poll numbers are overwhelmingly in favor of limiting the state right to take private homes for economic development projects that are controlled by private entities. The big cities argue that they need this as a tool to rehabilitate themselves. This is a test as to who is more powerful in Hartford - the public or the big cities administrations. My money would be on no action being taken.

TSCowperthwait said...

KerryGuy, that sounds like the perfect recipe for why the General Assembly should have done something on eminent domain.