With a special session on the horizon and an ever-growing list of retirements the end of the session was bittersweet for many.
Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, who announced he would not seek re-election last month, described the past four months as a “rollercoaster ride.” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said, “It’s not the best session we’ve ever had.” In fact, it was “less than stellar,” he added.
Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said, “We got a number of good things accomplished,” including the mortgage relief bill and a health care bill that provides relief to cities and towns. But there was also a list of bills lawmakers were unable to pass during the short four-month session.
The ethics reform bill that revokes the pensions of corrupt officials and public employees died on the House calendar because the House and the Senate remained at odds over pension revocation. The two chambers agreed a judge should be able to revoke the pension of a corrupt elected-official, but were torn over whether that same standard should be applied to a state or municipal employee.
“I’m very sorry the House was not able to put the senate bill up for a vote,” Williams said. He said while he’s upset there was gridlock he won’t “close the door” to bringing it up in special session.
Williams said if a majority of the members from the House and the Senate sign a petition they will be able to call themselves into special session to address the real estate conveyance tax, which sunsets on July 1.
“We know the cities and towns need the money,” Amann said. Republicans are not enthusiastic about coming back to the Capitol to address the conveyance tax.
McKinney said he’s willing to come in and talk about a budget, but little else.