After exiting Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office Friday, legislative leaders differed about whether the confirmation of the nine judges should be held hostage until a deal on the entire 2011 budget deficit is resolved.
Sen. President Donald Williams said he wants to see a deal reached on the entire budget before he agrees to bring the confirmation of the nine judges up for a vote in the Senate.
“What I want to see is an agreement as to the entire budget not just the Judicial Branch,” Williams said.
House Speaker Chris Donovan said he wants to see the agreement Chief Court Administrator Barbara Quinn and Rell reached and see how it impacts the budget before he comments.
In a letter to Judiciary Committee members Friday Quinn said the Judicial department’s budget represents only 3.1 percent of the entire $19 billion budget. If the language regarding future Judicial department allocations is adopted by the legislature, then the Judicial department will not close the Superior Courthouse in Bristol or the law libraries in Bridgeport, Hartford, and Litchfield.
Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney explained that the deal brokered to move forward with the Judiciary Committee’s hearing Friday on the judges was one made by the Judiciary Committee and has nothing to do with how the nominations would be treated after Monday’s vote. The Judiciary Committee spent most of the day Friday vetting the nine judges and expected to vote on their nominations Monday.
“I think that is progress toward negotiations for a vote,” Looney said.
Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney said that means the negotiations on the budget have taken one step forward and two steps back.
“All the work done on that agreement is now held hostage to an overall budget deal,” he said.
He said that means the Senate and the House really can’t pass any bills until a 2011 budget deal is brokered because every bill has a fiscal impact.
“Not much more will get done until we settle the budget,” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero said.
This story will be updated shortly to include information about the early retirement plan and Rell’s promise to offer a securitization plan next week.