SEAT BELTS FOR SCHOOL BUSES BILL DEAD FOR NOW

From working in the state legislature for years, The Shad can tell you that when lawmakers don’t want to do a bill but don’t want to vote against it, they turn into “a study.” Such is the case with the proposal to require lap and shoulder seat belts on all school buses in Connecticut purchased in 2012 or later.

The idea was simply a victim of the state budget mess—the legislators rightly decided that we simply can’t afford it right now.

The legislative budget office estimated that buying new buses with the seat belts would cost local and regional school districts an additional $45.2 million to $103.4 million over a 12-year period. The estimates are for a 12-year period because that is the estimated time it would take to replace the state’s 6,500 large buses.

The proposal could come back amended on the House floor.
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Previously underrated Democratic candidate for governor Mary Glassman is slowly crawling onto the radar screen of Democratic voters as well as movers and shakers (delegates to the convention). She reported raising more than $131,000 in contributions from 1,488 grassroots donors in the first quarter. Glassman, the first selectman of Simsbury, is the only candidate to have substantial experience as a top municipal official as well as a key player in both the state Senate and House.

Last night was the Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey dinner—the Democratic state central committee’s biggest fund raiser of the year—where candidates try to make an impression with volunteer visibility and little goodies to take home. The Hartford Courant’s “Capitol Watch” blog called it “The Dan, Ned and Mary Show,” noting the presence of Glassman volunteers along with those of frontrunners Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont who leads in the polls.
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The state House of Representatives is supposedly set to vote on a deficit-cutting plan today. It’s alleged there is a deal between Democratic legislators and the Rell administration to tackle this year’s deficit which is said to be $350 million-plus. We still don’t know how they resolved some significant differences or whether they are just moving the problem to the next two years.
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Just how much does personal wealth influence Connecticut politics? We probably won’t know the full answer to that until November but it clearly plays a significant role as to who runs for office to begin with.

Witness Lisa Wilson-Foley. Never having held elective office, Wilson-Foley has declared her candidacy for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor and she is running TV ads in support of her candidacy (she is much better in the ads than she was in making her announcement which was uncomfortable to watch at best). Many candidates for higher office than lieutenant governor have held off on buying TV time because of the expense. No such problem with Wilson-Foley.

Her website says, “Lisa Wilson-Foley is an award winning entrepreneur. She has owned and operated 10 businesses in Connecticut over the past 20 years.  Lisa currently owns:  Allstar Therapy, a rehabilitation company and Blue Fox Enterprises, a family entertainment business.”