Lawmakers did not vote this year to increase Connecticut's minimum wage despite a strongly worded letter from the leader of the state's largest labor organization.
Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, of Berlin, said there didn't appear to be enough time or support to pass the legislation before Wednesday's midnight adjournment. Lawmakers originally proposed increasing the $10.10-an-hour wage to $15 by 2021.
"It has become the victim of the clock," he said.
Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, sent the four Democratic legislative leaders a letter on May 3, stating the AFL-CIO is "disheartened" by the Democrats' "lack of action on critical worker issues that are important to our 200,000 members." She said the minimum-wage increase and three other bills "need to be acted on so they DO NOT become victims to sine die," referring to session's end.
Legislation adding a $12 annual surcharge on insurance policies of every Connecticut residential homeowner to help those homeowners with crumbling foundations is moving to the governor's desk.
The state Senate on Wednesday, the final day of the legislative session, voted 19-17 in favor of the bill.
Republican Sen. Tony Guglielmo (Goo-lee-AH'-moh) of Stafford Springs, a 26-year-veteran of the General Assembly, says the legislation is the most important bill he has ever sought for his district. He says families are struggling to cover the $100,000 to $200,000 cost of replacing a concrete foundation.
Opponents questioned why other entities, including the federal government aren't helping to cover the cost.
Connecticut lawmakers passed an 11th-hour bipartisan budget agreement before the General Assembly's midnight adjournment on Wednesday, with lawmakers calling the vote historic.
The $20.8 billion deal passed in the House of Representatives on a 142-8 vote at 11:20 p.m., on the heels of a unanimous vote in the Senate. It was an unusual sign of partisan unity, especially considering last year's monthslong budget standoff. The votes sparked cheers and applause in both chambers.
Recreational marijuana sales
Lawmakers will not be moving forward on legislation have that could lead to decriminalization and commercial sales.
GOP Leader Themis Klarides said that any bills would not be considered during the current session. A bill that would help Connecticut prepare for the possibility of legalized recreational marijuana cleared a legislative hurdle in April.
The General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee voted 27-24 in favor of the legislation.
Bump stocks ban
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he will sign newly passed legislation that bans devices enabling guns to fire like automatic weapons.
"I have yet to hear one legitimate reason why anyone needs to own a device that can fire 90 bullets every 10 seconds," said the Democrat, shortly after the state Senate approved the bump stock legislation by a vote of 26-10. The same bill cleared the House of Representatives last week, 114-35.
Democratic Sen. Paul Doyle, of Wethersfield, said at least eight states have banned the gun enhancements. Lawmakers were prompted to pass such legislation following an October shooting at a Las Vegas concert that left 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured. Police say bump stocks were used in that crime.
Connecticut lawmakers have passed legislation that requires the continued tracking of sexual assault evidence collection kits.
The bill cleared the House of Representatives unanimously. It previously passed the Senate. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to sign the legislation, which puts in state law some practices his administration has taken in recent years.
The bill also compels health care facilities that collect sexual assault evidence to contact a counselor when a victim arrives.
Domestic violence arrests
Connecticut lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved legislation that aims to reduce the number of domestic violence victims who end up getting arrested, along with their abuser.
The House of Representatives voted 147-1 in favor of the bill requiring police to arrest the person determined to be the dominant aggressor, when responding to family violence complaints. The bill, which already cleared the Senate, now moves to the governor.
Advocates for domestic violence victims say Connecticut's rate of dual arrest is more than twice the national average.
Connecticut lawmakers moved closer toward requiring the state's school districts to teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides, voicing concern about an uptick an anti-Semitic acts and an apparent lack of knowledge among many young people about such atrocities.
While the state Department of Education has made an optional course on genocide available to districts, legislators said many have not used it.
"We have not done enough to educate the young," said Democratic Rep. Andrew Fleischmann of West Hartford, who voiced concern about recent polling that has shown a lack of awareness about the Holocaust and the six million Jewish victims. "It's not clear why we would have districts not teaching this profoundly important subject."
The House of Representatives voted 147-0 in favor of the bill following a somber and poignant debate. The measure previously cleared the Senate and now moves to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk.
***Associated Press contributed to this report***