Friday, January 18, 2008

Up in Hartford...

The General Asembly will convene a special session Tuesday to take up the criminal justice reform package that Republicans, Democrats and the governor agree are needed. All sides are in agreement on about 95 percent of the proposals being considered. Not bad considering the track record of the folks in Hartford who have had great difficulty this past year on finding agreement on anything.

But as rosy as it might appear, there is trouble just around the bend.

Rell, warning that there's no room under the state's mandatory spending cap to finance any cost-related proposals this fiscal year, is asking lawmakers to only address those reforms where there is agreement -- and no cost associated with implementing them. If they do that, she'll sign the measure and the new reforms can take effective immediately.

As for the other proposals that will have an impact on the state budget, she is recommending those items be discussed during the regular session that begins on Feb. 6. And, she said her budget proposal to be delivered to the legislature on Feb. 6, will include funding for those other initiatives.

Democrats, however, appear to be taking a different approach. Supposedly, they intend on grouping all the proposed reform measures -- the ones everyone agrees to, the ones that don't have everyone's agreement to yet, and the ones that cost money -- and grouping them into one bill that they're going to pass and send to the governor for her signature.

Doing the right thing shouldn't be so difficult.


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