Tolls, Marijuana, Gambling And Budget Remain On General Assembly's Agenda
With less than five weeks remaining in the regular legislative session, lawmakers are scrambling to pass major bills ranging from casino gambling and highway tolls to gun control and marijuana.
Legislators, facing re-election in November, are also expected to tackle the state’s budget deficit before the session’s mandatory adjournment at midnight May 9.
Some measures have been approved by committees and have a solid chance of passage, while others are still up in the air. Democrats have a narrow margin in the House and the state Senate is tied, so sharply partisan issues may pass or fail by a single vote.
With the state facing a projected budget deficit of nearly $200 million in the current fiscal year and larger deficits in the future, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz predicts that lawmakers will reach a bipartisan budget compromise in the final weeks of the session. That will include restoring cuts to the popular Medicare Savings Program to help senior citizens and the disabled and trying to avoid reductions in municipal aid that were proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, he said.
But some lawmakers are skeptical about a relatively quick agreement because last year’s budget was not signed until Halloween.
“If I had to put money on it, I would say we leave here without a budget,’’ said Rep. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott.
Bump Stocks, Ghost Guns
Malloy and a coalition of Democrats and Republicans support banning “bump stocks,’’ devices that allowed a shooter to fire a semi-automatic rifle at near-automatic speed and kill nearly 60 people last year at an outdoor concert near a Las Vegas hotel. A key legislative committee voted 36-5 to prohibit the sale, possession and manufacture of the devices.
A bipartisan coalition also supports banning “ghost guns,” which can