Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - Lobbyists for big business and other interests get paid big money to convince lawmakers how to vote, but one of the most effective lobbyists on this issue has a much more personal stake.
On the floor of the State Senate Wednesday Senator Martin Looney's bill to change the way liquor permits are renewed in New Haven passed on a unanimous vote, but it was the push and pull on an issue behind the scenes that everyone is talking about.
Dr. William Petit and his sister have been quietly meeting with state senators in an effort to switch some of those who voted for the Death Penalty Repeal bill two years ago -- and they are succeeding. State Senator Edith Prague of Columbia voted for the repeal in 2009 and says a 45 minute meeting with Dr. Petit changed her vote. The first time it's ever happened on a issue.
"I just feel if there's any little thing I could do to help this man at all, I just got to do it," Prague said.
State Senator Andrew Maynard of Stonington also voted for the repeal two years ago and says a similar meeting with Petit turned him around. Several senators tell News 8 that Dr. Petit is telling them that he fears the defense in the Joshua Komisarjevsky trial will use any vote for death penalty repeal in the General Assembly to their advantage at the trial in New Haven.
Another vote that will probably go against repeal is newly elected Senator Carlo Leone of Stamford who voted against repeal in the House two years ago.
"I would be leaning to vote the same way I did in the past," Leone said.
That makes it appear that in the Senate this time, the votes are not there.
"It's very close, in terms of the votes, so at this point it remains to be seen whether it will be moving forward," said Sen. Don Williams.
"Dr. Petit has been speaking to individual senators regarding this issue and that may be the reason they don't have the votes to move forward on the legislation," said Sen. John Kissel.
Rep. Holder Winfield is the principal proponent of the death penalty repeal bill.
"We are still working on making sure we have the votes and I'm still hopeful that we get this issue dealt with by the end of the year," said Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield.
Members of the Machinists union who work at jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney have approved a new three-year contract.
The University of Connecticut has awarded the first two scholarships under a program launched to help those affected by last year's massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — A student accused of setting off a lockdown and massive police response at Central Connecticut State University by wearing a ninja-like costume on campus is set to face a judge for the first time.
Newtown police officers rescued two people from a house fire, early Sunday.
Manchester police are investigating what lead one man to allegedly kill three women and then take his own life.
Enfield resident Harold Slater was just 20-years-old the day he witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Two men were arrested after breaking into a home then driving at officers during a pursuit in Waterbury on Saturday night.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The two youngest members of the U.S. Senate are co-sponsoring a bill aimed at lowering college costs that includes withholding federal funds from schools that don't meet affordability and quality standards.
New Haven police are investigating the death of a man who was found with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Police in Connecticut say a man they suspect killed three women took his own life minutes after officers confronted him.