Gov. Lamont reflects on legislative session as it ends with a number of bills passed
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut’s legislative session ended at midnight on Thursday.
The bills passed this year included tax cuts and sweeping gun safety laws.
It was a long night, but Governor Ned Lamont was in a good mood when he spoke to the general assembly.
Many feel the session was a productive one.
Right after the stroke of midnight, Governor Ned Lamont was invited into the House chamber.
“We got a budget done on time with strong bi-partisan support,” Lamont said.
Now that this year’s session is over, Lamont sat down with Eyewitness News to give his take on what was really accomplished.
“They laid out what their priorities are, they worked together,” Lamont said.
Unlike prior years when it took months to agree on a budget, this year Democrats crafted a budget with Republican proposals.
A huge surplus helped pave the way for historic tax cuts.
“They are raising taxes in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Connecticut is going in the other direction,” said Lamont.
Another priority was more gun safety laws, banning open carry and cracking down on ghost guns. Here again, there was compromise and some Republican support.
“I got to get those illegal guns off the streets I am worried about them, a lot of our cops are getting outgunned,” Lamont said.
The state was in a good place this year financially with a huge surplus. But fiscal guardrails adopted in 2017 restricted spending.
That meant group home workers and nonprofits didn’t get the raises they wanted.
“You never get everything you want,” Lamont said.
While some may not like those guardrails, it’s used to pay down pension debt which saves hundreds of millions a year.
Lamont looked ahead to the next session.
“We have a lot to get done the biggest priority is keep our economic momentum going, make sure it works for everybody not just a few,” said Lamont.
There was also bi-partisan support to create more access to birth control and protect women’s reproductive rights. Building more affordable housing was also a priority. Some progress was made on that.
Both sides of the aisle agreed that it was a productive session.
While many bills did not get a vote in time for the midnight deadline, quite a few were passed that will have significant impacts.
One example, Connecticut will now have early voting.
The legislature also passed the most sweeping gun safety laws since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which happened in 2012. The laws included a ban on open carry and a purchase limit.
The legislature also passed the budget in time, with bipartisan support. Only one person in the state Senate voted against it.
Sixty percent of people in Connecticut will see a tax cut because of the budget. If taxpayers make less than $150,000 a year or $300,000 as a couple, they’ll notice a lower tax bill next year.
The budget also included increased funding for education to help districts hire more teachers.
Lamont spoke to the General Assembly at midnight Thursday as the session wrapped up.
He said the state’s ability to work together should send a message to other government bodies across the country.
“I think we showed there is a different way,” Lamont said. “We showed there’s a Connecticut way, and I’m really proud of that.”
The new budget will officially take effect on July 1.
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