HARTFORD, CT — They never expected it to end like this, but legislative leaders decided Monday that it’s not safe for them to return to the state Capitol before the constitutional adjournment of May 6.
The sign on the door to the state Capitol still says the building is closed until Friday, April 24, but that will be changed soon.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said Monday that they haven’t ruled out a special session, however, the state Capitol will remain closed through the constitutional adjournment of May 6.
Looney said they can’t bring people back into the building without the proper protection, such as masks and gloves. He said they are working with Legislative Management to purchase the equipment and in the meantime lawmakers are being asked to work with committee chairs on legislation they would like to see raised during a future special session.
No date has been set yet for a special session.
Looney suggested Monday that rank-and-file lawmakers could look at bills they debated already this session and believe should pass. He said they are looking to build consensus to some extent for some omnibus bills, one per committee, but “don’t want to give the minority party a veto over content.”
Looney offered up SB1 as a bill that should get passed this year.
The bill, which made it through committee and was sitting on the calendar in the House and the Senate when they last met on March 11, would cap insulin at $50 per month for residents who are on a state-regulated insurance plans. It also caps insulin supplies at $100 per month.
“We do want to get back in to start legislating because we have bills we think are important to get done this,” Looney said.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said “it’s unfortunate,” the General Assembly can’t meet at the moment, but “it’s the best decision for health and safety right now.”
“We all miss our colleagues and wish we were up in Hartford doing the people’s work together as we usually are,” Klarides said.
The legislature has been in contact with Gov. Ned Lamont and his staff as they continue to manage the state through executive order.
Lamont has signed 29 executive orders since declaring a state of emergency on March 10.
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw estimated Monday that the state would end the year with a $530.2 million budget deficit.
“The Governor is not offering expenditure reductions or revenue policy changes to address the deficit,” McCaw said in a letter to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo. “Any year-end deficit will, by operation of existing state law, be addressed through a transfer from the Budget Reserve Fund when the Comptroller closes the books for fiscal year 2020.”