With the budget on its way to the governor’s desk and less than 24 hours left in the session, it’s implementer season and Sen. Ed Meyer is wearing his rat tie.
The pace of legislation can speed up at times near the end of the session when large, emergency certified bills that are designed to implement the budget are drafted by staff. The bills are often voted upon quickly by lawmakers.
But end-of-session implementers can also serve as vehicles for “rats,” or language some lawmaker hopes to see passed without notice.
It’s with this in mind that Meyer, a Democrat from Guilford, wore his reddish-maroon necktie printed with a pattern of brown rats to Tuesday’s session.
“Today, because of the things that are seen and not seen, I’m wearing a necktie with rats,” Meyer said. “. . . We call bad bills, tricky bills — we call them rats in Connecticut.”
Although he declined to mention specific bills, Meyer said the legislature had entered a time of the session when “surprises” were common. He said he had concerns about the absence of printed bills for lawmakers to review before debating, and the pace at which those bills sometimes come to the floor to be voted on.
“Particularly at the end, when there are a lot of emergency certified bills coming out very quickly and when you have, what you call the implementer bills, you don’t have a chance to review them almost at all,” he said.
Although “rat” is a generally accepted term around the Connecticut state Capitol, Meyer, who is a former New York resident and also served in that state’s legislature, said New Yorkers use the term “turkey” to describe the same concept. He said his colleagues in the Connecticut Senate recently gave him a necktie printed with turkeys.
“So yesterday, as we were passing a very controversial budget, I wore the tie with turkeys,” he said.
While the turkey tie is a new addition, the rat tie is not. Most recently, Meyer wore it earlier this year when the Senate approved Gov. Dannel Malloy’s nomination of Shelley Marcus as a Superior Court judge.