The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Connecticut lawmakers have a week to go in the ’23 session
HARTFORD — An agreement has yet to be reached on a state budget that will be north of $50 billion for the next two years, and hundreds of other bills remain pending before lawmakers in the House and Senate.
Cue the countdown to midnight on June 7, the last day of Connecticut’s 2023 legislative session.
Legislative leaders have presented a mostly calm front heading into the final week of the session, focusing mostly on proposed income tax cuts and budget negotiations with Gov. Ned Lamont along with a handful of bills that have made it out of one or both chambers. As is the case every year, they warn that some priorities are bound to be left behind in the final sprint to adjournment.
“I’ll say again, we did a lot over the previous two years that would probably still be hanging around at this time in the session,” House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, told reporters on Tuesday morning.
Still, there are a few pending issues that leaders have expressed a strong desire to act on this year, even if it means staying at the State Capitol late into the night. As those debates inch closer to the finale, here are five things to watch for:
One of the issues that lawmakers pledged to address back in January was the lack of affordable housing across much of Connecticut, as well as the related — and intertwining — concepts of rent caps, zoning reform and services for the homeless.
With just one week to go, however, the framework for a bill to touch on all of those issues has yet to come into public focus.
House Democrats began counting votes on a potential deal behind the scenes on Tuesday, according to Rojas, who has led negotiations on housing. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, heaped praise on Rojas for pulling together disparate viewpoints within both parties in an attempt to reach a compromise.
“You’re not going to get a better bill than what’s been put together,” Ritter said. “We’re confident when the language comes out people will see the hard work that’s gone into it. You have to build more housing in the state of Connecticut.”
The housing proposals that have been floated by Democrats include new incentives to build denser housing close to train and bus stations, as well as a bill that would require municipalities to host their “fair share” of