HARTFORD, CT — Emotions run high and debates run long at the end of the legislative session, but that’s no excuse for members of the House of Representatives to mock each other, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz told the chamber Friday.
On Thursday night, state Rep. Anne Hughes, D-Easton, walked with her hands on her hips behind Rep. Doug Dubitsky, R-Chaplin, as he was asking questions about the Trust Act.
Hughes said she apologized to Dubitsky and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, for showing any disrespect.
“When we disagree on the issue we disagree without being disagreeable and it’s not personal,” Aresimowicz told the chamber Friday.
Klarides said each side of the aisle is elected and feels strongly about their beliefs.
“Sometimes we say things we don’t mean, but I hope we never cross a line,” Klarides said.
Without naming Hughes or the other Democratic representatives who seemed to mock Dubitsky, she said what happened last night was “one of the most disgusting things” she’d seen.
“We must agree and respect this process,” Klarides said. “And what happened last night to Rep. Dubitsky is shameful.”
She said it was simply disrespectful.
Klarides said that as head of the minority party she knows it’s frustrating that it may take a little longer than the majority likes to debate a bill, but “you know what? Tough.”
“The only power we have in the minority is the ability to talk about things,” Klarides said.
However, Republican lawmakers are not immune from jokes this time of the year.
Earlier this week, Rep. Bill Buckbee, R-New Milford, chewed on a straw during a debate over a bill to phase out the use of plastic straws.
Rep. Joe Gresko, D-Stratford, who was debating the bill was forced to watch Buckbee chew on the straw behind Rep. Stephen Harding for two hours before the bill was killed.
Gresko said he doesn’t feel disrespected, but he didn’t appreciate the guy chewing on the straw during the debate.
“I feel like it should apply to them too,” Gresko said.
Aresimowicz said he’s the judge of decorum in the chamber and will be speaking with everyone involved in any pranks.