HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The special session, which Governor Ned Lamont has said he will call in July after the Independence Day holiday, should, in his mind, focus on police accountability and absentee ballot voting.
On Juneteenth, the day commemorating the abolishment of slavery, Senate Democrats unveiled a broad agenda with 33 items.
Some said the short time frame may not allow for all of those policy changes.
“In order for that to matter and have meaning, we have to do more than just talk but to make sure it matters in policy,” said Senator Gary Winfield, (D) New Haven.
The agenda crafted with the help of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus includes:
- Criminal justice and police accountability.
- Economic opportunity.
- Health care reform.
- Housing the environment.
- Voting rights and recognition
Sen. Doug McCrory, (D) Hartford
“Try to tear down barriers in education, health care and housing,” said Senator Doug McCory, (D) Hartford. “That’s what people in the state of Connecticut are marching for.”
One of the 33 ideas under those broad subjects including the Amy Cooper Law, which is aimed at charging people who call 911, making false accusations based on race, gender or religion. It is named for the woman who called police on a black man in Central Park when he suggested she have her dog on a leash.
“We the Legislature have the power to create legislation that responds to them,” said Senator Marilyn Moore, (D) Bridgeport. “We hear their cry.”
“It’s all interlinked; no question about it,” said Sen. Logan, (R) Naugatuck.
The only Republican member of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, Senator George Logan, sees common ground on some ideas, especially those focused on jobs.
“Business go back online and can hire workers,” he said. “We can have more people working and help get us out of the financial crisis in a sustainable manner.”
He said a special session should allow for the voice of the people.
“There’s a lot to tackle,” Logan said. “These are big issues, and we need to make sure we are all on the same page. If we are not, we could really do a disservice to the people of Connecticut.”
A Black Lives Matter flag was also flown over the Capital on Friday.
One of the ideas on the special session agenda with support from both Republicans and Democrats was making Juneteenth a state holiday.
“There’s still more that we need to do in addition to those issues to address the complex and difficult problems of racial and economic inequality,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “I look forward to working with legislators and other stakeholders on those issues during the next regular session.”