Connecticut lawmakers end legislative session with unfinished business

- FILE - Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford (WTNH / Mark Davis)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The legislative session here in Connecticut came to an end several hours ago but there’s still unfinished business at the Capitol.

The legislative session officially ended at midnight but lawmakers will be back for a special session to deal with Connecticut’s budget.

That’s because they still have to pass a 2 year budget that covers a projected $5 billion deficit. The budget has been one of the major hurdles during this year’s session and they have until June 30th because the new fiscal year starts July first. So time is critical.

While that’s in limbo, other measures were passed. Lawmakers voted in favor of a transportation “lockbox.” Basically money that’s meant for transportation that can only be spent on that. Nothing else.

The House gave final approval to a plan that would bury parts of I-84 and I-91 into underground tunnels in Hartford. A bill was also approved that would expand the number of off track betting facilities across the state.

Of course the big story is a third casino in Connecticut. That was passed on Tuesday. The bill now on it’s way to the governor for his signature.

Related: Lawmakers approve 3rd casino, MGM to fight in court

“There was a lot of workers out in the hall for the past couple of months talking about their ability to provide for their families,” said Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, (D) Speaker of the House.

“We have to focus on jobs and the bill. We did last night, that’s why I supported it, it was the one bill that really focused on jobs particularly in eastern Connecticut,” said Rep. Themis Klarides, (R) Minority Leader.

The third casino, slated to be built in East Windsor, is going up to compete with the one that MGM is opening in Springfield. MGM says the one Is East Windsor is an unconstitutional, no bid contract.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes both say not doing this is a big gamble to state revenue and could threaten thousands of jobs at the existing casinos in Connecticut.

Bills that involve marijuana and women’s health did not come up for a vote. Again, lawmakers will have to come back for a special session to work on the budget as well.

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