DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT?
Candle, Light & Propane. Connecticut, Light & Plunder. The wisecracks switched on almost as soon as the lights went out.
And while the play on words are getting laughs in some quarters, many legislators are sick of the joke. Instead they want a special session to tackle the aftermath of . Many are using the success of the jobs special session to make their point.
“The special legislative session on Oct. 26 demonstrated that General Assembly members from both sides of the aisle could work together quickly to produce a bipartisan jobs bill. There is no reason that we can’t move just as quickly to improve emergency response, something that affects everyone,” said House District. “The alternative is further extreme inconvenience and increasing health and safety risks for our state’s residents, as well as significant loss of revenue for many small businesses.”
The lawmakers said they believe it's a bipartisan issue. Among their suggestions for legislation include requiring utilities to train and maintain emergency “stand-by crews’’ comprised of first responder personnel, retired utility workers and local responders such as firefighters.
Other ideas include requiring mutual aid agreements to specify strict timelines with other utilities and states and increasing the use of fuel cells in Connecticut to provide more electricity that is “off the grid.’’
These legislators also want to see benchmarks for power restoration and fines on utilities that fail to meet restoration goals.
“I think the past two months of power outages have taught us a number of lessons and given us the opportunity to discuss the reliability of our power,” said . “Certainly, how we maintain our trees in a proactive way can help, but also beginning the process and planning of burying power lines along some corridors could be helpful.”
Hear, hear, agreed state Rep. John Shaban, a Republican representing Easton, Weston and Redding in the 135th House District.
“Members of this legislature proved through the recent bipartisan jobs package that they can work together in quick fashion, and given that winter is right around the corner this is an issue we must tackle right away,” said Shaban in an email.
Meanwhile plans to host a at the. Pros and cons of underground utility lines will be addressed.
The 2012 session doesn’t officially begin until February. And while the October session saw the passage of jobs related legislation, there are risks to holding extra sessions. Because they usually attract more attention, and because having them signals the issue couldn't wait until the regular session, expectations are higher.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the Legislature will most likely review the events in its own time, said Juliet Manalan, Malloy’s press secretary.
"I think a special session, when we have something to do, is highly appropriate," Malloy said. "When we have a package to put forward, I will be fully supportive of a special or regular session to address it."
Although one congressional staffer hopes news organizations will forgo general 2012 election stories until say sometime this spring, a few state lawmakers see last Tuesday’s elections as a harbinger for things to come.
“Through and Cristin’s (Vahey) campaign we talked personally to a lot of voters this election season, we heard loud and clear that people still care deeply about jobs and the economy and in particular they want our governments at all levels to get their act together and stop over spending,” Fawcett said. “That being said people of all political backgrounds are rejecting the unreasonableness of Republican national politics. People see through the games and question the true intent. I think the Republicans tide has peaked, could be good news for 2012?”
Yet, in Fairfield County the GOP held on to various seats: , First Selectman in Greenwich, and . And in .
However, in and in
"During last week’s monthly commissioner’s meeting Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky talked about his legislative priorities for the next session. They include continued support for its existing programs so that they continue to strengthen the viability of agriculture in Connecticut and further fuel to the state's economy, as well the development of any complementary programs that contribute to the same mission."
“The agency's programs are instrumental in all of the state's eight counties. Both New Haven and Fairfield Counties have shoreline that is important to the state's shellfish industry, and both have significant farmland acreage in production,” said Linda Piotrowicz, of the Agriculture Department. “Consumers in both counties are enjoying fresh Connecticut Grown products at farmers' markets, in local restaurants, and in schools participating in DoAG's various programs.”