2015 Legislative session begins Wednesday

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Last Minute Push For Several Bills

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s first legislative session of 2015 convenes today—and money is on the mind. Lawmakers looking for ways to save it, to spend it, and remember, Gov. Malloy promised no new taxes during his re-election campaign.

The state has a $31.6 million deficit, so how do we correct that course without new taxes, without tax increases? Maybe tolls.

On buses, on trains, in your car, Gov. Malloy says nearly every facet of Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure needs work, and to pay for that work and deal with other issues– tolls are the hot topic at the Capitol.

“The salient point that I consistently made around the issue of tolls and other increases revenue to pay for transportation is that those dollars absolutely positively have to be lock boxed so that they cannot be gotten to,” Malloy said in October.

Beyond tolls, there’s also big talk about power. Capping electric rates. Consumers rallied against CL&P as the company was trying to bump up fixed monthly charges. Regulators have been on CL&P’s side, albeit telling them they can’t go as high as they might.

And safety issues are on the agenda: Domestic violence killed 13 people in 2014, so new laws to protect victims, like meatier restraining orders are being considered. Former State Senator and current New Haven Mayor Toni Harp has been vocal on this.

“It is really something that spurs crime in our community in a way that we don’t really think of… but more families are impacted by domestic violence than those who die in our streets, ” Harp said.

Boating safety will be taken up by law-makers too: Proposals to make getting your boater’s license akin to getting your driver’s license—in the wake of some bad boating accidents last year. Age restrictions could be coming, and gone may be the days of taking a paper test only… you might have to go out on the water with an official to get licensed.

Additionally, pay raises for hundreds of high level government positions are expected this year, and with money being so tight, that could be a hard-pill for Connecticut to swallow.