KISSEL DOES A BIG FLIP-FLOP ON SENTENCING BILL

In an apparent bow to Gov. Rell, state Sen. John Kissel this week completely changed his position on an important measure creating a prison sentencing commission. The legislature overrode the governor’s veto of the bill.

When the bill first passed the state Senate back in May, Kissel was an ardent supporter. He spoke in favor of the sentencing commission. “[This commission is] something that we worked on very diligently over a year ago…It’s not something that is considered a liberal idea or a conservative idea, but it’s the notion of having a sentencing commission that we can bounce ideas off…[W]e tried to create a sentencing commission that…would have the best minds on it familiar with all aspects of our criminal justice system…So, for that reason, Mr. President, I stand in strong support of this proposal,” Kissel said. He added that he thought the governor would “buy-in” to the idea.

As it turns out, the governor did not support the bill and in fact, vetoed it. When the Senate convened earlier this week, Kissel changed his position completely and voted to sustain the veto. Nothing in the bill changed so it leaves one wondering, what changed on Kissel’s end? Either he simply changed his mind or perhaps someone in the governor’s office got to him and threatened to pull the plug on the governor’s joint appearance with Kissel this morning in Somers to feature bonding money for town hall repairs. Not exactly a profile in courage on the senator’s part.