HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – State lawmakers kicked off a special session in the state capital on Tuesday morning to clarify details on two critically important topics: the budget and recreational marijuana.
Discussions during the special session will impact millions of Connecticut residents for years to come.
Connecticut lawmakers have closed what has turned out to be an unusual legislative session due to the pandemic.
At the end of the legislative session last week, lawmakers said they already knew they still had important work ahead of them.
State senators returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning and members of the House of Representatives return on Wednesday.
The plan is to work on the state budget and legalize recreational marijuana.
The two houses last week crafted a two-year, $ 46 billion budget that does not call for a tax hike or spending cuts. Despite the deal, however, lawmakers were unable to put the finishing touches on it before the June 9 deadline, so both sides will have to sign an implementation bill in session. extraordinary.
Many Republicans voted for the budget, but say the implementer has a lot more to do.
“Just because you’re in the majority party doesn’t mean you have to act this way,” Republican State Senator Craig Miner said.
Within the performer is a controversial proposal to withdraw funding from cities with schools with Native American nicknames or mascots. Killingly made national news by reinstating “Red Men” as their high school mascot.
Senator Cathy Osten wrote the language. Her district is home to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, and she said schools would lose their share of state aid generated by casinos.
âWhen are we going to fix this problem. Are we telling them that they should sit down and wait their turn – when is their turn? They were here first and we should start to recognize it, âsaid Osten.
The Senate narrowly passed a proposal to give the green light to the sale of recreational marijuana, but the bill went up in smoke because the House failed to reach agreement in the regular session . Governor Ned Lamont responded by calling for the special session, which brought lawmakers to where they were on Tuesday morning.
“I was hoping that once the Senate did, it would go to the House and be passed, but we are back here today. We will hear this bill again and pass it,” said Senator Gary Winfield.
Marijuana passed the Senate last week by just two votes, but was carried over to the House on Wednesday when the Speaker pulled the plug after Republicans threatened to filibuster.
On Tuesday evening, the Senate voted to approve recreational marijuana. he will now travel to the House of Representatives for a vote scheduled for Wednesday.
After the vote, Lamont Chief of Staff Paul Mounds Jr. released a statement saying, “The amendment approved by the Connecticut State Senate regarding the Adult Cannabis Bill This afternoon, in layman’s terms, falls short of the goals set in the negotiations when it comes to fairness and ensuring that the wrongs of the past are righted. Rather, this proposal opens the door for tens of thousands of previously ineligible applicants to enter the adult cannabis industry. This last-minute amendment only creates name fairness by allowing these people to gain quick access to the market. Governor Lamont has said from the start that this legislation must allow those most affected by the war on drugs to have a fair chance in the process of entering this new industry. This measure as amended fails to meet the objectives and needs of our State in terms of equity. Senate Bill 1201 now allows anyone with a history of cannabis-related offenses or a family member, regardless of financial means, who has previously been arrested for simple possession to be considered with the same. weight that a person from a neighborhood who has seen many of their friends and relatives face heavy penalties and discrimination because of their past cannabis-related crimes. This is not fairness, and Governor Lamont will veto this bill if it gets to his office in its current form.
“What we heard when we went back to our communities is that marijuana is not good for Connecticut, not good for our children,” said Senator Kevin Kelly.
Democrats have pushed for fairness, to license people in communities affected by crime and drugs. There have been some changes to the original THC limit of 30 percent from product and 60 percent from concentrate. Products need to be labeled and some additional licensing restrictions.
Lamont has already expressed his strong support for recreational marijuana.
The session started at 11 a.m.
If recreational marijuana passes, it will go to the House on Wednesday.
Stick with Channel 3 for continued coverage.
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