Christine Stuart photo

Dr. William Petit Jr. asked the Judiciary Committee last week to keep politics out of the debate to reform the criminal justice system, but politics crept back in Wednesday as members of the House fought on when they would return to special session and vote on a bill.

On the floor of the House this afternoon, Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, introduced a piece of legislation that would force the legislature to come back into session no later than Jan. 16 to vote on a bill. He said he was afraid that without a date “things will happen and time will slip away.”

House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, said “we’re going to have a great piece of legislation and we shouldn’t be fighting about time and place.”

“We didn’t want any grandstanding,” Amann said referring to the Republican’s decision to introduce a resolution with a date. He said when the Judiciary Committee and the governor’s task force finish their business the legislature will come back into session this January.

Rep. Al Adinolfi, R-Cheshire, said “Let’s get justice back and set a date.” Cafero added that without a date nothing gets done.

Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said he expects a package will be ready for a vote before the end of January.

Cafero’s resolution failed 34 to 76. The more general call to return to special session passed 110 to 0.

Meanwhile, Cafero voiced another concern. He said the repairs to the House Chamber needed to be stopped while the House met for one-hour today. All the scaffolding needed to be taken down, he said.

Amann said the installation of the sprinkler system was supposed to be completed by the end of November. He said he didn’t know how much it cost to take down and put back up the scaffolding, but sources at the Capitol said it will cost $100,000.

As of 1:25 p.m. the Senate had yet to vote on the call to special session.