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Multiple issues to be decided on by Connecticut legislators at Monday's special session

Lawmakers will consider extending the gas tax holiday, increased energy assistance, pandemic premium pay and the "bottle bill."

HARTFORD, Conn. — State lawmakers will begin a special legislative session Monday with multiple issues on their agenda. 

A special session is when the legislature meets outside its normal schedule, usually to address unfinished tasks from the previous session, or during emergencies like natural disasters. 

In this case, Gov. Ned Lamont called the session for four main issues. 

The Connecticut General Assembly will consider extending fare-free public bus service and the suspension of gasoline taxes. Lamont is also asking the legislature to approve more funding for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and Premium Pay Program, the latter for essential laborers working during the pandemic. Lastly, he wants to modify the effective date of sections in the container redemption program, commonly known as the "bottle bill."

"I’m asking the legislature to extend for several additional months the suspension of Connecticut’s gas tax that has been in effect since April, as well as the waiving of fares on all public transit buses,” Lamont said in a statement Wednesday. "Additionally, I am proposing to allocate more funding to our energy assistance program to ensure that we can meet the needs of our residents, and make available more funding for the Premium Pay program for essential workers. These actions can help provide more immediate relief for Connecticut residents as consumers across the country are facing rising prices due to a number of international dynamics and market instability that go far beyond our state."

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The possibility of this special session was in talks for weeks, but Lamont previously said the legislature would only handle the gas tax.

“I don’t think we want to have a cliff on the gas, starting on December 1,” he said. “I think we ought to have a meeting, special session before that.” 

Republicans were pushing for additional agenda items, like home heating assistance. 

“What we need is a plan that’s going to protect these families that need our help,” said Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford).

Lawmakers are expected to discuss all four topics in one bill. This would be debated in the House of Representatives first, then in the Senate. 

There is no word on how long considerations will take but for some of these topics–like the gas tax holiday–there is a deadline. The current gas tax suspension is slated to end on December 1. 

Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at ewulfhorst@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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