HOUSE TO VOTE ON DEFICIT-CUTTING PLAN THIS WEEK?

Back on March 27, the state Senate pulled an all-nighter and passed a Democratic-written deficit reduction plan designed to address the $500 million deficit the state faces in the current budget. The vote was 21-15—not enough to override a veto. When Governor Rell (from her vacation in Colorado) threatened to do just that, the House canceled its March 28 session, figuring it was a waste of time if the bill was only going to be vetoed.

Senate Democratic leadership is apparently still under the impression the House plans to take up the bill—this week. “Last week, they [House leadership] told us they would take a vote on the bill sometime midweek,” said Senate Majority Leader Marty Looney. In The Shad’s experience, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time one chamber told the other it planned to do something and then didn’t. But Looney, considered probably the most credible lawmaker in the state legislature, expects the House to live up to its word, pass the bill and put it on the governor’s desk even if she does veto it. And while it may seem like an exercise in futility given the threatened veto, in the world of politics, “then it would be on her.” And the band played on.

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You can imagine the argument. “Your honor, we don’t want you to release the videotape of the videotaped deposition.” That’s basically what Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and her lawyers want. Bysiewicz is jumping through excessive hoops, hoping to prove she is qualified to run for and serve as attorney general. State statute says that the attorney general must be an attorney with at least 10 years of “active practice.” It does not provide help on what that constitutes. Bysiewicz argues her years as secretary of state qualify as “active practice” because she supervised a number of attorneys in her office. If that argument fail, she wants the statute declared unconstitutional.

In that pursuit, Bysiewicz has given a videotaped deposition, questioned by lawyers for the state Republican party. But in a strange twist, she insisted on having her own videographer tape the videotaped deposition. Still with me? Now that the tape and transcript exist, news organizations want a copy. Bysiewicz is asking the judge not to release them. Stay tuned.

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In campaign news, state Senator and former West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris is officially in the race for secretary of state. Harris made the announcement at West Hartford town hall and immediately picked up a big time endorsement. US Rep. John Larson is backing Harris over candidates such as House Majority Leader Denise Merrill. The endorsement is important because Larson continues to gain more and more influence in Congress as an ally of Nancy Pelosi who is coming off that big health care vote victory.

Harris is a rather measured, calming influence in the state Senate and more importantly, a real consensus builder. He showed his talents and ability for such in the debate over emergency contraception at Catholic hospitals a couple years back. Amazingly, he was able to put together a bill just about everyone could live with. Affable but strong, he’d be a very effective secretary of state.

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Many times when a municipal leader decides to run for statewide office, the people of that city or town might as well look the back of a milk carton to find their elected official when it comes to local business. Not so in Simsbury and first selectman/gubernatorial candidate Mary Glassman. Glassman will be front and center at a hearing on the Simsbury town budget tonight. Glassman was able to keep her budget proposal to a 0.27% increase. Given contract obligations and the like, that’s quite an accomplishment; all while running hard for governor.

Unlike any other candidate, Glassman has top-notch experience as a first selectman, on the staffs of the speaker of the house, the senate president and lt. governor. As a candidate for lt. governor in 2006, she won the primary even though the top of her ticket lost—something unusual and that speaks to her appeal statewide. She is the wild card in the race for governor.

The author of The Hanging Shad worked with Jonathan Harris and Mary Glassman in the Senate Democratic Caucus.