HARTFORD — House representatives took on many bills Tuesday night and Wednesday morning before tackling the controversial proposed budget.
One bill lawmakers debated while the budget took the backseat was whether titanium should be the designated state element.
Just before 2:00 a.m. Wednesday, representatives debated HB 6091. The purpose of the designation is to “encourage the exploration of science by children.”
Connecticut would be the first state to have its own recognized element.
Lawmakers said that the idea was researched by students at East Hartford High School. Students considered several metals and chose titanium because of its importance to manufacturing and the aerospace industry.
“I think we should applaud the students for their work and reward them by passing this bill,” Rep. Ed Jutila, D-37th, said.
Lawmakers questioned how the state could use the designation to attract Connecticut jobs. Rep. Jutila joked that the state could create a task force to investigate the benefits of having titanium as its state element.
There was some slight pushback. Rep. Matthew Lesser, D-100th, asked “is this legislation intended in any way to disparage the residents of Cobalt, Connecticut?” Cobalt is a village in East Hampton.
Rep. Jutila replied, “the good representative should relax and rest assured that there is no intent to disparage the good residents of Cobalt.” Lesser then said he supported the bill and urged his colleagues to do the same.
Jutila suggested perhaps lawmakers could propose a second state element in the future, referencing Connecticut’s second state song.
One lawmaker asked Jutila if he knew where on the periodic table titanium lies, along with its weight. “This is not science class and I don’t take quizzes,” he replied.
Rep. Al Adinolfi, R-103rd, argued that perhaps the state state element should be barite. “I don’t know if you’re aware, but this state is loaded with barite mines,” Rep. Adinolfi explained. “In Cheshire they’re all over the place. I would say 15 years ago we had a street cave in because of the tunnels below it.”
Barite is not an element, but a chemical compound of barium sulfate (barium sulfur and oxygen).
Titanium is not naturally found in Connecticut.
After nearly a half-hour of debate, representatives voted.
The bill passed the House 97 to 44. It now moves to the Senate.
The House got to debating the budget about three hours (and several more bills) later at around 5:20 a.m.