As a midnight deadline neared, New Haven’s freshman state representative was pushing a cherished problem-bar bill. He couldn’t get it past the goal line. Then he noticed some more experienced New Haven legislators start pushing buttons.

The legislators—state Reps. Pat Dillon, Juan Candelaria, Toni Walker—were pressing the “request to speak” button to weigh in on bills before the legislature. Bills that had nothing to do with problem bars.

They didn’t really want to speak about the bills. They, like the freshman state rep, wanted the problem-bar bill to come up for a vote before midnight struck and the legislature adjourned for the year. By asking to speak on every other bill that arose, they were jamming up the last-minute rush of approval of bills cherished by legislators from other districts.

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