HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Taking a stand against Governor Malloy, the majority Democratic party, Malloy’s own party, refused to take up his signature criminal justice reform bill Thursday during a special session. It appears they just did not have the votes in this election year, even after the governor tried to compromise on his reforms.
“I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on this bill,” said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden). “Not the kind of thing that can be done in a couple weeks.”
The bill would have eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanor offenses. Facing an upcoming election, many in the governor’s own party would not back the reform. Malloy gave up on the second part of the bill earlier this week, that would have raised the juvenile offender age to 20.
“Any individual piece of a bill can be taken out of context, it can have other consequences that may not be foreseen,” Sharkey said. “And that’s the process that needs more time to fully vet.”
The 2nd Chance Bill would have closed a prison, saving an estimated $15 million. Governor Malloy is now promising line item vetos on the state budget to make up the difference. Malloy released a statement that reads in part:
“Emergency Certified Bill 501 assumes significant savings resulting from specific criminal justice policy changes proposed by my administration. Unfortunately, the General Assembly has not passed the necessary implementing language…Consequently, the budget would be out of balance if these adjustments were not made.”
The minority party Republicans pounced on the governor for including savings into the state budget, contingent on a bill that has no guarantee of passage. The governor’s office said Republicans also included the criminal justice reform savings into their proposed budget as well.
“Well first of all shame on you for building this in if you have no idea that it will pass,” said House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby).
In response to the new gap in the state budget approved just last month, Governor Malloy vetoed over $20 million from the state budget today. Most of that was municipal aid.