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Connecticut legislature gets ready for historic session

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HARTFORD -- On Wednesday, the General Assembly will convene in Hartford.

For the first time in 125 years, there will be an even split between Republicans and Democrats in the state Senate. In the House, Democrats maintain a slim majority, 79-72 -- the smallest margin in more than 50 years.

Governor Dan Malloy will deliver the State of the State address Wednesday at noon.

"It really is a historic time in the State of Connecticut," said Senate Republican President Pro-Tempore Len Fasano.

The historic shift in power is being viewed by state leaders as more of an opportunity than an obstacle.

"Seventy-five percent of the legislation that we pass in the state Senate is unanimous," said Senate Democratic leader Bob Duff. "Ninety-five percent of it is bipartisan. So, we have a really strong record of already working together."

"For those of us who have always worked in that spirit of cooperation, it's really not that much of a game changer," said House Democratic leader Matt Ritter.

"I think it's going to cause more cooperation, more collaborativeness of ideas, more discussions about how we can move Connecticut forward," said Fasano.

In the House, Democrats maintain a slim majority, 79-72 -- the smallest margin in more than 50 years. If Democrats in the House miss any votes or cross the aisle, they could potentially create a Republican victory. Their biggest hurdle will likely be the budget.

"On tough votes like the budget, Republicans now have a seat at the table," said Duff.

"[The] budget is going to be the biggest issue, by far," said Fasano.

"There can't be a poison pill," said Ritter. "You can't say, 'If that's in the budget, we're not voting for it.' Because we can say the same thing to them. People really have to be open minded to craft a bipartisan budget going forward."

In the event of a tie in the Senate, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman will hold the tie-breaking vote.

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