As someone who has, on occasion, tried to make a green light and wound up stuck in a busy intersection, I can’t say I am all that excited about a proposal allowing cities and towns to authorize their police to ticket selfish, self-centered drivers like myself.
But I was surprised tonight when the bill, which was inspired by a law in New York City, proposed by Stamford lawmakers and received bi-partisan support in the Senate, was targeted by House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk.
Cafero argued on many occasions he has been caught in the midst of a busy intersection in Norwalk, not because he is trying to force his way through a green light, but just because an odd roadway configuration, combined with a busy neighboring business – in this case a Dunkin’ Donuts – and other turning motorists conspire to trap him under the changing light.
“This bill does not reflect real life,” Cafero said. “We’re going to start handing out infractions for people who drive … normal every day.”
Suddenly the debate was cut-off and the bill “passed temporarily” or sent into limbo by House Majority Leader Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield. If not revived by midnight tomorrow when the session ends, it dies.
Merrill afterward said she intervened because she believed Cafero and the House Republicans intended to filibuster block the box because they were trying to delay a vote on the next scheduled piece of legislation involving U.S. Senate vacancies.
Whatever Cafero’s motives – and between you and me, Larry, you had me at “this bill does not reflect real life” – he did not share them with block the box backer Rep. Livvy Floren, R-Greenwich, who also represents a portion of Stamford.
“I had no idea he was going to start talking,” Floren said afterward. “I thought it was just going to go sailing through.”
Making the opposition even more awkward is the fact that the Stamford delegation sponsored the bill in part at the urging of Robert “Gabe” DeLuca – a prominent Stamford Republican.
UPDATE: The bill was revived and passed just after midnight, 138 votes to 3. Cafero voted “yes.” It now heads to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.