HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont had expected his signature issue, transportation, and tolls, to be in the rearview mirror as the regular General Assembly session opened but that will not be the case.
With the governor’s “truck tolls” plan now rolling into the regular session, the issue is likely to overshadow all others until it is either approved or dismissed as not passable this year. The governor may have caused himself more difficulty on the issue Monday when he said he was not pushing for a second train station on Bridgeport’s Eastside.
In response to reporters’ questions regarding the called “Barnum Station,” the governor saying, “Right now, our plan is to look at the existing station upgrade as opposed to adding on a new station.”
Responding, Rep. Chris Rosario (D-Bridgeport) saying, “I won’t take no for an answer on the Barnum Station…if he can’t support this project he needs to go back to the drawing board.”
The only other hot button issue that is given good odds of approval in the short session is sports betting and a proposal with bipartisan support would give exclusive rights to the state’s two tribes, along with approval for a casino in Bridgeport.
Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) saying, “It allows for sports betting and online sports betting and online sports betting registration.”
Sen. Paul Formica (R-Niantic) adding it would “Secure our partnership for the long term with these tribes who have done so much to push the State of Connecticut forward.”
Cannabis legalization for recreational purposes got the approval of three legislative committees last year but never came up for a vote.
The language is ready and one top leader, the Senate President Pro tem, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) says it’s essential to move forward on this adding, “We need the revenue. Our neighboring states have already done so. We hear reports of so many people traveling from Connecticut every weekend to Northampton, Mass.”
And there will be an added push to expand the bottle bill that some say is an environmental necessity.
The co-chair of the Environment Committee, Sen. Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) saying, “We would increase the bottle deposits from five to 10 cents. We’d increase the breadth of items that are inclusive in the bottle bill, so including teas, sports drinks, and juices.”
The issue of repealing the religious exemption for childhood vaccinations is also expected to be addressed early in the regular session. A public hearing has been scheduled for mid-February.