Conn. Senate Passes Democratic Budget Shortly Before Adjournment
The Connecticut Senate has voted in favor of a two-year, $40.3 billion Democratic budget that drew sharp criticism from several of the state's major employers for raising taxes.
The fiscal package cleared the Democratic-controlled Senate on a bipartisan vote of 19-17.
It previously cleared the House of Representatives on a 70-73 vote earlier in the day.
The vote came about a half-hour before the midnight adjournment on Wednesday. It appeared uncertain whether there would be enough time to pass the legislation. The General Assembly's minority Republicans were still debating the bill, prompting Senate President Martin Looney to consider a controversial parliamentary procedure to stop the discussion.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano agreed to stop debate, but said the GOP was frustrated by not being involved in the budget.
Despite passing the budget before the midnight deadline, state lawmakers will have to return in a special session to pass Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's so-called Second Chance Society legislation.
The intent of the bill is to give nonviolent criminal offenders more opportunities to reintegrate into society.
Among other things, it reclassifies use and possession of drugs as a misdemeanor unless there is evidence of an attempt to sell.
Shortly before the midnight legislative adjournment Wednesday, lawmakers were huddled outside the House of Representatives trying to clarify a section of the bill pertaining to gun owners who've committed a misdemeanor.
The bill is one of the Democratic governor's major initiatives for the legislative session.
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