A bill that would change who is considered a juvenile by the courts and modify the bail system didn’t get called for a vote Thursday by the Senate because, according to Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, it was unclear if the House had the votes.
After finishing up debate on the budget and a bill detailing the amount of borrowing Connecticut will do for infrastructure projects, the Senate decided to call it quits.
Looney said his members wanted to know for sure the House was going to pass the bill if they were going to subject themselves to a four hour debate after midnight.
“We will let them go first,” Looney said, in reference to the House of Representatives taking up the bill. “We’ll come in some next next week to do it, assuming they do it.”
The House is expected to convene at 10:30 a.m. Friday to debate the four budget-related bills and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s so-called “Second Chance 2.0” proposal.
“We didn’t get the same level of assurance from them on that bill that we did on the budget,” Looney said.
Looney said the House believes they may have the votes, but it depends on which lawmakers show up Friday. Some lawmakers are concerned that increasing the age at which a person is treated as a juvenile would make them look like they were soft on crime heading into an election year, while others had concerns about making changes to the bail system.
Republican Senators filed 16 amendments.
This is the second time the Senate has essentially tabled discussion of the bill, which Malloy has made a central theme of his second term.
The bill would allow 18-,19-, and 20-year-olds to have their cases heard in the juvenile justice system, as opposed to adult court. The age groups would be phased in over a three year period.
The bill also would prohibit the court from requiring a defendant to post a surety bond if he or she is charged only with a misdemeanor, as long as that misdemeanor doesn’t involve a family violence crime or risk another person’s safety.
The legislation builds on the law Malloy signed last year that treats drug possession as a misdemeanor and eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug possession.
“We must continue to be a society of permanent reformation and improvement, instead of permanent punishment,” Malloy has said.