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Special legislative session begins to fix almost $1 billion hole in budget


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A special session of the general assembly gets underway in Hartford. Lawmakers are set to vote on a budget.

The general assembly came close last week, but did vote on a state budget fix before the end of the regular session, so a special legislative session starts around 10:30 a.m.

Here’s how it will work. The state Senate meets first. Members will start debating and then voting on a plan to fix an almost billion dollar hole in the budget. They are doing that without any new taxes or fees, so that billion dollars has to come from nothing but cuts.Related: On eve of budget cutting vote, complaints get louder

Hundreds of pink slips have already gone out to state workers. Officials have said as many as 2,500 state jobs may disappear as a result of all the cuts.

Wednesday, several women’s groups held a press conference to protest another kind of cut. This budget deal takes six different commissions that advocate for women, children, African-American, Hispanics, Asian Americans and consolidates them all into one commission in order to save money.

“Each of these six commissions represents specific populations with complex issues,” said Mary Lee Kiernan, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.

“Everybody who has been affected by this budget is going to be upset. There are going to be elements in this budget….there’s nothing pretty about this budget,” said Rep. Brendan Sharkey, (D) Speaker of the House.Related: Republicans complain about partial release of budget details

That is mostly because of the ugly economy. People and businesses are earning less, which means the government is collecting less tax money. The consolidation of those advocacy groups will mean fewer staffers working on issues for those groups of people. The argument is those groups are the most vulnerable in our society.

In addition to the budget, lawmakers will also take up Governor Malloy’s idea of extending juvenile offender status to criminal suspects up to the age of 20.

The Senate meets in a few hours. House members have been told to be ready to come there Friday to vote.

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