It is a bit early to declare the just ended legislative session a success or a failure.
How do I define these terms? As far as the Connecticut Legislature is concerned, some have noted over the years that as long as it is in session Westonites should “hold on to your pocketbooks.”
This session was no different.
It was called to reconcile the biennial budget. And to review bills previously raised in the long session of 2011, which extended from that January to June.
This short session, which began in February and ended yesterday, managed to address some of the biggest issues facing our state, including financial ones that are not going away so fast. And also some little ones.
I particularly watch bills originating in the Planning and Development Committee, because I have found that these, plus some others of major statewide importance, affect Weston the most.
What was I focusing on back in February when the short session began? How have my bills of interest done?
Education reform (SB24, 163 pages as proposed) is up in the air as I write this column, a few days before the session ends. The governor proposed and the Education Committee disposed.
Now, at the very end of the session, it appears likely that some compromise will come at the 11th hour.
But not before we learned more than we ever wanted to know about how a bill becomes a law.
A lobbyist initially proposes the wording. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It happens all the time.
But in this case, everyone in Connecticut, and certainly in Weston, cares. The subject matter — education — is of vital importance.
Yet, despite the governor’s best efforts in reaching out, some interest groups cannot be assuaged.
“An Act Considering Liability of Zoning Enforcement Officers (SB263)” passed the Senate and House.
“An Act Concerning Planning Regions” sits on the Senate calendar, having passed the House. An analysis of state planning regions is to be done by Jan. 1, 2014, by the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
This bill sets a goal for the analysis of reducing the number of planning regions from the current 15 to no more than eight. So the question of whether or not to be part of a COG (Council of Governments) in our eight-town planning region would become moot if HB5154 gets the Senate’s OK.
And then “An Act Concerning The Palliative Use Of Marijuana” passed the House and Senate.
Lastly, now law is “An Act Concerning Competitive Alcoholic Liquor Pricing And Hours Of Operation For Permittees.”
Compared to the more arduous progress of bills though the General Assembly on topics such as education, zoning enforcement, regional planning, or legalized pot for palliative purposes, liquor was quicker.
NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access).