Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, said the Democratic majority talked privately Tuesday in caucus about two ethics bills.
He said the debate centered around whether they will publicly debate the part of the bill, which allows the state to go back and revoke the pensions of lawmakers and public officials convicted of crimes while in office. Amann said he’s conducting an unofficial poll of his members to see if there’s enough support for a debate on just the retroactive portion of the bills.
Rep. Chris Caruso, D-Bridgeport, said “the people of this state deserve an up or down vote in public” on the issue.
Amann said he “lives and dies” by what the caucus decides, but Caruso isn’t willing to go down without a fight.
“No one could give me a justification for why we couldn’t do it,” Caruso said. “Any legislator can introduce an amendment to a bill.”
At the end of the day, Amann said he’ll have a better idea about whether the caucus likes it better with or without the ability to reach back 10 years to take a pension.
He said some legislators expressed concern about what happens to the family members of lawmaker’s whose pension is revoked. He said he understands the argument: If your family member messes up, why should the whole family be punished.
On the other hand, Amann said he’d like to see former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano’s pension revoked. “I have no problem with someone like that losing their pension,” he said.
Amann said the ethics bills could be on the calendar as soon as tomorrow, or possibly next week.
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