Sen. Prez Williams plans to resurrect jobs bill

The Senate’s jobs bill (SB1) – a priority for Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn – died in the House of Representatives when the legislative session ended at midnight Wednesday.

Cause of death? Some say the bipartisan bill was held hostage for the past few weeks by House Speaker Donovan, D-Meriden in an effort to pressure Senate Democrats to pass his .50 minimum wage hike. Williams couldn’t deliver, so his bill did not see the light of day in the House.

Williams in an interview earlier Wednesday evening said, “It was suggested if we ran minimum wage last night (Tuesday) perhaps they could have run SB1 last night.”

Donovan and House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden today pointed fingers at the Republicans, arguing they’d run the bill in the final hours of the session if only the GOP would let it pass without a time-consuming debate.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, though acknowledging his side had some issues with the bill, took issue with being made the scapegoat.

“We were either going to do SB1 last night (Tuesday) or we weren’t going to do it … They (Donovan and Sharkey) knew very well by not doing it last night, to do it today would be a near impossibility,” Cafero said. “Overshadowing all of this was the perceived quid pro quo (over minimum wage). So this has primarily nothing to do with me.”

Williams, a few minutes after sitting next to Donovan for Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s end-of-session speech, told reporters he will resurrect SB1 when the legislature reconvenes in a few weeks to pass bills necessary to implement the budget.

Asked about friction between himself and Donovan, Williams said, “We worked together very well all throughout the session.”

But, he added, he believes people will “scratch their heads” over how such a good bill with so much bipartisan support died in the House.

Williams and Donovan have a private discussion following Malloy’s speech. About dead bills, perhaps?

Brian Lockhart