One party felt that the bat that came swooping down from the ornate ceiling of the House chamber Wednesday morning epitomized the atmosphere of the session as a somewhat chaotic scene. The other party felt that it was just a bat.
“It was chaos. People were screaming, there was a big net going over the balcony trying to catch the bat. The bat was flying all over, people were ducking and I said, ‘This epitomizes the session,’” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said in a post-session press conference Thursday. “Not coordinated, chaotic, no one working together, everyone running for cover. That bat was the icon of this session.”
The legislature’s Democratic leaders disagreed with the picture Cafero painted of the legislative session.
“There’s a bat in the room. It doesn’t epitomize anything except there’s a bat in the room.” House Speaker Chris Donovan said.
“Now we need to find out how the bat got in the room and plug up that hole as we plugged our deficit.”
The legislature’s Democratic majority was able to work out a 2011 budget compromise with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell earlier this week. Republican lawmakers removed themselves from the conversation when they felt their ideas were continuing to be ignored.
“Republicans sat on the sidelines and criticized,” Donovan said.
Democrats maintained that they were able to reach a budget agreement for 2010 in cooperation with Republicans and a 2011 agreement with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
“This is one of the best years of dealing with the budget and moving forward on some very important issues,” Donovan added.
“There are some Republicans in the state right now that are bitterly disappointed that we did have bipartisan cooperation and that we did eliminate the deficit in 2010 and 2011,” Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said. “It doesn’t play in to a partisan narrative that they have been trying to portray that Hartford is broken. That there would be gridlock. That there would be no resolution of the deficits.”
If that’s what Republicans hoped they would say going into the 2010 election cycle, then they have to find a new narrative, Williams said.
Even though Cafero and Rell share the same party association they couldn’t agree on how to resolve the nearly $2 billion 2011 budget deficit.
“I was very disappointed in the governor’s actions,“ Cafero said. “I think she could have done more to drive this debate, but I’m not going to speculate she did it because of judges.”
There were some last-minute challenges presented in passing both the budget and Rell’s nine judicial nominees to the Superior Court bench. Click here to catch up on that issue and here to see how it was resolved.
Check back later for more of our end-of-session wrap later this evening.