After a lengthier-than-expected debate Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives this afternoon “passed temporarily” legislation making it illegal for drivers or their passengers to have open containers of alcohol in their vehicles while on the road.
That gives supporters an increasingly narrow window of opportunity before the session concludes at midnight tomorrow to work out the kinks behind the scenes so the legislation can be revived for a vote.
“Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t,” House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden, said.
Every year proponents think they have addressed the opposition’s concerns, and every year someone finds new reasons to oppose the bill.
“The more that you compromise and try to resolve multiple concerns and issues it turns into something very different (and) you risk losing support,” said Rep. David Scribner, R-Brookfield, a ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee.
This year’s issue was a concern that the law unfairly penalized sober drivers for the actions of their passengers and discouraged the practice of choosing a designated driver.
Although the state Senate did not have the same problem, Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, a Transportation Committee co-chairman, said that never guarantees quick passage in the much larger House.
“We all know in this place – two chambers, different viewpoints,” Guerrera said.
Donovan said he had thought there was enough support for the bill to pass this year, which is why he allowed it to be brought up for a vote today.
“It’s kind of going slower than slow,” Donovan said as the debate dragged on.