Capitol Report: State Capitol building still closed to public as rest of CT eases COVID restrictions

Capitol Report

(WTNH) — Connecticut turned another corner on the COVID-19 pandemic last week.

People ages 45 and up are now eligible for vaccinations and more COVID restrictions have been rolled back at restaurants and public venues, but one well-known public venue is still off-limits — that would be the state capitol.

It’s “Lawmakers only”. All public hearings are still by “Zoom only”. Republicans leaders are itching to let people back inside. Democrats disagree.

A deal designed to bring legal sports betting and iGaming in Connecticut is now in place.

The Lamont administration hammered out an agreement involving both the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegan tribe. The Connecticut Lottery is also involved.

If legislators and federal officials give their blessing, the deal is expected to generate tens of millions in tax revenue for Connecticut.2

Just two weeks ago, Foxwoods and the Mashantucket Pequots had been left on the sidelines of a deal, but the Gov. and Tribal Chair Rodney Butler managed to work things out. Butler says he’s eager to see sports betting and iGaming happening by the start of the football season.

The state is really getting its money’s worth out of its Zoom account. A public hearing last week on zoning laws and affordable housing lasted 24 hours. Supporters say these bills are about desegregating Connecticut. Opponents claim taking local control away on housing will have a negative impact.

At one point, the hearing got a little testy when Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who is president of the State Conference of Municipalities, started to testify. Republican State Doug Dubitsky wanted to know what role the mayor was playing in the testimony, since his wife, Sara Bronin, who is head of Desegregate CT, is the one pushing the zoning legislation.

And the debate continues over raising taxes on the wealthy by hitting capital gains and reducing exemptions. There’s also the so-called “Mansion Tax” proposed by Senate President Martin Looney that would tax all homes valued at over $430,000. Revenue would help cities and towns statewide.

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