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June 10, 2024

Lamont all but rules out climate change bill in special session

MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG Gov. Ned Lamont said climate may be too big an issue for a special session.

None of the three men who control the agenda in a special session of the General Assembly are saying definitively that climate change won’t come up. They still make it pretty clear it’s not in the cards.

Gov. Ned Lamont, who has sole control over what issues can come up in the special session planned for June 26 and 27, said he will follow the lead of House Speaker Matt Ritter and Senate President Martin M. Looney.

“I think there’s less of an inclination to include the climate bill. I think it’s a big bill probably better suited for the last session, where it should have been voted on, frankly,” Lamont said Friday.

So, that’s a no? 

Not exactly.

“I’ll follow the leadership on that,” Lamont said. “That’s my feeling now. Special sessions ought to be very narrowly focused to get over the finish line.”

The House voted on May 1 for a bill that would have declared a climate crisis in Connecticut and outlined steps to sharply reduce greenhouse gases by 2050, but the annual session ended on May 8 without a vote by the Senate.

So, what do the leaders want?

Ritter said he is open to re-running the bill already passed by the House, or merging it with portions of a Senate climate bill that Looney says is more substantive.

“I’m pretty flexible,” Ritter said.

Looney could not be reached for comment Friday, but he said Wednesday afternoon he was not opposed to addressing climate in a special session.

And as for House Bill 5004, the climate bill that passed the House, Looney said he supported it, but the Senate ran out of time to pass it.

“I was disappointed they didn’t vote on the bill when they should have voted on the bill,” Lamont said. “Last I heard from the Senate president, he was talking about doing it this fall. You know, that’s that’s a possibility as well.”

Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, said advocates were trying to assess why a bill that Lamont, Looney and Ritter ostensibly support may not make the cut for a special session.

Climate advocates saw a second chance at passage of House Bill 5004 when it became clear that lawmakers would return by month’s end to pass a bill necessary to avoid a spike in motor vehicle assessments in several cities.

Lamont also wants passage of a portion of a banking bill that passed the House but  never got a vote in the Senate. The provisions in question would make Connecticut more attractive to a special type of business-to-business bank.

One is currently looking to relocate to Stamford.

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