It’s 11 a.m. on the day BEFORE the General Assembly and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell kick-off the start of the 2009 budget session in Hartford.
And already I’ve gotten three press releases from lawmakers in both parties announcing new proposals.
Returning Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, and new House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden, are holding a 1 p.m. press conference to announce “changes being made to help reach budget agreement on time” – whatever that means.
At noon Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, is joining Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others in announcing a proposal to fight predatory debt reduction and mortgage rescue services. Duff is a co-chairman of the Banks Committee.
And speaking of Blumenthal, Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, is reviving his long-standing proposal to create the position of state Inspector General. McKinney believes the position will be more independent than Blumenthal’s office, citing a recent suit by state cops against the AG, a Greenwich resident.
UPDATE: Now it’s around 2 p.m. and McKinney’s office has announced a press conference in half-an-hour to “introduce a series of proposed rule changes designed to streamline state government and increase transparency and public participation in this year’s budget-setting process.”
C’mon House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk. We’ve heard from the Democrats and twice from McKinney. Where are you on this 2009 session eve?
UPDATE 2: And now it’s the Judiciary Committee.
The group met today and, by voice vote, passed a new rule allowing the legislature to consider “the potential racial or ethnic impact of a particular piece of criminal justice legislation before it becomes law.”
The decision, which must be approved by the full House and Senate tomorrow, comes in response to a 2004 state study that concluded blacks and Hispanics in Connecticut are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system.
“If nothing else, some types of mandatory minimum sentences have taught us that inner-city residents pay a disproportionately higher price when such laws are enacted,” Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, a committee co-chairman said in a statement. “That may not have been a legislator’s intent in passing those laws, but it certainly was the effect. Now we will have the opportunity to consider that in advance.”