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Legislative Session Becomes A Coronavirus Casualty

Legislative Session Becomes A Coronavirus Casualty

CT Post, April 23, 2020

By Ken Dixon

In what might be a statement of the obvious, leaders of the General Assembly on Tuesday morning finally announced that the May 6 constitutional deadline will adjourn the legislative session without further action.

But Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz said that a special session will likely be in the works for June to approve school construction projects and engineer a tax-collection system engineered around the July 15 income tax filing deadline, which will occur more than two weeks into the next fiscal year.

In a joint statement, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate President Martin M. Looney, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano admitted that with Gov. Lamont closing the state until at least May 20, there is no room to salvage much of the short, 13-week session, which was suspended on March 11.  

“The 2020 regular legislative session will adjourn without any further action, and we are already working on a plan to convene a special session in the coming months to ensure the continuity of government functions and that any necessary legislative action can be taken,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “Our top priority is the health and safety of the public, and we are committed to continue working in unison to stem this health crisis and do everything possible to protect the Connecticut residents we all represent.” 

Few bills survived back to top

Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who is retiring from the General Assembly after the November elections, called the current plan fluid, with few details in the midst of the coronavirus. In a phone interview, he said that the $2.5-billion emergency reserves will likely help state government escape through the current fiscal year, which runs through June 30.  

Only a few bills survived the legislative process before lawmakers recessed nearly six weeks ago.

“The next years aren’t going to be great,” he said. “We’re going to need every nickel of the rainy day fund.” Aresimowicz said that Democratic committee chairmen will be reaching out to their GOP ranking members to discuss areas of potential agreement for what might be a lightning-quick three-day session in June to tie up necessary business before the summer and fall campaign seasons.  

“We know that the time we have is minimal,” he said.